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OWU Connection Programs
Project Title: Collective Memory of Violence and Oppression Under Dictatorships in Chile and Argentina
Mentor: Andrea Colvin
This project entailed a comparative study of reconciliation efforts in post-dictatorship Chile and Argentina, comparing and contrasting the ways in which literature, art and policies had a role in ensuring that society remembered the human rights abuses that occurred during such Regimes. It developed an in-depth explanation of collective memory in these countries by utilizing interviews with experts and people who lived through the dictatorships and visiting museums to inform an interpretation of memory. Both Chile and Argentina experienced governments that limited individuals’ freedom of speech and assembly, specifically for anyone who was considered a “subversive.” “Subversives” included students, union leaders, communists, socialists, and anyone who was perceived as an opponent to the military government. These people, later dubbed “los desaparecidos” (the disappeared), vanished without any public explanation, and their families were left wondering if their loved ones were still alive. To stifle dissenting opinions, the two governments conducted widespread torture, and, in the case of Argentina, threw unconscious people out of planes. A total of 40,000 Chileans were tortured, “disappeared,” or were executed and more than 30,000 Argentines were killed. The project sought to find similarities and differences in the two cases.