HPI140 | Autumn | 3 ECTS

Human Rights and Memory in Latin America

This course explores the history of dictatorship in Latin America. Through three national case studies (Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala), we take a two-step approach for studying the legacies of authoritarian rule in twentieth-century Latin America. First, we look at the mechanisms through which military regimes came to power in each of the three countries —and how they stayed in power as long as they did. Here, we examine not only the proliferation of human rights abuses, but also the rise of human rights as a framework itself, often invoked by opposition groups as a way to denounce their government and bring global attention and solidarity. And second, we trace the challenges of post-dictatorship societies, using the concept of memory to examine the afterlives of military rule. Here, we take examples from the political (truth commissions and human rights trials), the cultural (art, music, cinema), and the personal (testimonial literature). By combining a close reading of the history of human rights in Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala with a more contemporary analysis of their respective memory platforms, this course seeks to build a strong base for understanding the interlinked meanings of trauma, politics, and commemoration.