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From Villa Grimaldi (1997) to the Museum of Memory (2010): socio-anthropology of memory of political repression in Chile

Grant number: 16/23027-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2017
Effective date (End): August 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology
Principal Investigator:Leopoldo Garcia Pinto Waizbort
Grantee:Marc Pierre Olivier Berdet
Supervisor: Pablo Cottet Soto
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidad de Chile, Chile  
Associated to the scholarship:15/04514-4 - Realms of memory or spaces of rememoration? A benjaminian approach to political memory in Brazil, BP.PD


Similarly to Memorial of Resistance en São Paulo (2009) and - in accordance with the recommendation of the Brazilian Truth Commission (2014) - to the projected Museum of Memory in Brasilia, Villa Grimaldi (1997) and the Museum of Memory in Santiago (2010) have generated a lot of polemics - not only between the pro- and the contra- of the military regime, but also between different social actors, survivors, families of ex-prisoners or disappeared, activists and champions of human rights. All these memorial projects imply important ethical questions with great political impact: Shall we reconstruct the sites of torture as they were? Should we better leave them be ruins and install a simple memorial for paying respect to the victims? Would it be better to re-signify the space, including the space of the city or the national territory itself, with the edification of a "site of conscience" that do not symbolize death but the vitality of memory and democracy? How to elaborate a symbolic meaning through a spatial and museografic organization? ¿Shall we insist on resistance or on repression? Which sort of collective stories and political narratives should materialize itself into spaces and objects?Such concrete questions are linked to more general questions that I will associate to the problematic of the sociology of memory and of political anthropology. How much memory, after indelible events such as torture and disappearances, do we need, and how shall we manifest it? How to go from an individual, private memory, to a collective, public one? Who is authorized to speak about the past? And what style should be adopted? To whom do we address the mnemonic dispositive? What is the correct way to reach truth and justice? Is forgetting a normal response to trauma, and should we respect it with dignity? At which point forgetting the past is a danger for the democratic construction of today?With this project, I will attempt to answer to these questions from a socio-anthropological point of view, starting with two examples of Chilean memory sites: Villa Grimaldi and the Museum of Memory, the former quite old, the latter very recent - but both of them pioneers in Latin America. (AU)

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