Historia Reciente y Memoria

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Report 2019

By: Katherine Hite and Eugenia Allier

This past LASA Congress 2019 in Boston proved fruitful for our Section, Historia Reciente y Memoria, as we had the opportunity to engage together in different settings – from our two panels, to our section meeting, to our alternative memory site walking tour of Boston. Throughout, many of us both connected with one another’s scholarly work, and we had a chance to think about how we might improve and expand the Section.

1. Our Section sponsored two panels:

Panel One: “Historias y memorias recientes silenciadas.” Session Organizer: Eugenia Allier of the UNAM, Mexico (who had a family emergency and ultimately was unable to join us), Claudia Bacci and Alejandra Oberti of the UBA, Argentina (“Una interpretación afectiva del pasado: testimonios y archivos en construcción”), Ana Laura Di Giorgi of the Universidad de la República, Uruguay (“Otras sujetas de la historia. Historia y memoria feminista en el Uruguay posdictadura”); Cecilia Macón of the UBA, Argentina (“Historia como activismo en #quesealey: la lucha por el aborto en la Argentina y la cuarta ola del feminismo”); and Celia del Palacio of the Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico (“Memorias de a violencia hacia los periodistas en Veracruz, Mexico”). Katherine Hite of Vassar College, USA, served as discussant. The panel enjoyed a full audience.

Panel Two: “Política y políticas de la memoria en relación al presente.” Session Organizer: Katherine Hite of Vassar College; Manuela Badilla of the New School for Social Research, USA (“Longing for the Barricade: Urban Ecosystems of Nostalgia and Resistance in Post-dictatorship Chile”); Katherine Hite, co-authored with Daniela Jara of the Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile (“Ghosts, Exhumations, and Unwieldy Pasts”); Samantha Viz Quadrat of the Universidade Federal Fluminense (“El invisible de la represión en la democracia”); and Alicia de los Ríos of the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Mexico (“Amnistía en el México del siglo XXI: posibilidad de perdón y olvido?”). Mariana Achugar, for an emergency, could not attend LASA, though we had a productive comment and discussion sesión with the audience.

2. Our Section also awarded a prize to the best article of Historia Reciente y Memoria.

The jury was composed of Claudio Barrientos of the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, and Cecilia Macón of the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. We thank them both very much for their work.

Best article: Daniela Jara, Manuela Badilla, Ana Figueiredo, Marcela Cornejo, and Victoria Riveros, "Tracing Mapuche Exclusion from Post-Dictatorial Truth Commissions in Chile: Official and Grassroots Initiatives," International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2018, 12, 479-498.

Honorable mention: Mariela Peller, "Las paradojas de la revolución. Figuraciones del cuerpo en la prensa del PRT-ERP en la Argentina de los años setenta" Dossier. Izquierdas, 41, agosto 2018:77-99.

3. In addition, Our Section sponsored a recorrido por los sitios de memoria, an alternative memory site walking tour through several iconic sites of historic Boston.

Our guide was Jim Vrabel, a former Boston Globe reporter and the author of several books on the city of Boston, including A People’s History of the New Boston (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014). In contrast to conventional tours of Boston, Vrabel used several sites to offer us a rich history from the grassroots regarding the under-told contributions of working people, and of the conflicts and contradictions that underlie the more celebratory official narrative of the city. We had twenty-five Section members, family and friends who participated, and we had the good fortune of a warm and sunny Boston morning.

This marks the third time our Section has sponsored an alternative memory site tour. Our first one was for LASA’s 50th anniversary in New York City, in which Professor Marita Sturken of New York University led us through a critical exploration of the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero. Our second recorrido was organized by Section members Cath Collins of Ulster University, Iris Jave of the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Peru, and Makena Ulfe, also of La Católica.

We see the recorridos as an institutional component that enhances our academic work and that brings us together in a convivial way. The Section plans to offer an alternative memory site tour in Guadalajara, Mexico.

4. Finally, the Historia Reciente y Memoria Section had a small but quite productive Section Meeting.

In attendance: Claudia Bacci, Felix Burgos of Indiana University East, Alejandra Oberti (an Executive Counsel Section member), Ana Laura de Giorgi, Samantha Quadrat, and Katherine Hite. Here are notes from the meeting:

Hite reported that the Section currently has 92 dues paying members representing 19 countries. The Section also has a Facebook page with 367 members, open to posts. She expressed the Section’s ongoing concern regarding the need to build and diversify the membership to include active members from across the Americas, that the richness of our Section is when we can bring members together through panels and other work that is organized more thematically and that crosses many national borders. We recognized that the papers of this year’s panels were rich national studies, and the uniqueness of the Section is to put the work in conversation with multiple national explorations.

Toward this, and in thinking with the theme of the Guadalajara 2020n congress’s “Améfrica Ladina,” as well as the range of rightist political realities across the region, participants in the meeting suggested that the Section organize panels for next year along these thematic lines:

• Género y memoria

• Raza, etnicidad y memoria

• Re-visiting the archive

• Counter-memories – negacionismo, authoritarian manipulations of the past.

Additionally, members suggested that the Section seek brief bios of all Section members – 150 words on what members work on, as well as a photo in order to associate names with faces. The Section could then create a Google Share, with access for all Section members.

Participants in the meeting, as well as members who could not be present but sent in suggestions, encouraged better, more systematic postings on social media, and to amplify our use of different technologies to build membership and enliven the Section.

The Section also has to do a better job of publicizing and recognizing our book and article prize winners.

And finally, participants noted (as did those who attended the LASA Section Chairs on the Congress’s first day) that it was extremely costly to participate in LASA Congresses, and that in Latin America, there are university venues that would be far less expensive to hold the gatherings. It was noted that for the foreseeable future, LASA Congresses would not be held in the United States, until the political climate for visas and the hostility toward immigrants coming from the U.S. Executive changes.