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Flashes of the past: the inscription of death in public space through the exhumation of the bodies of missing political militants of the brazilian military dictatorship

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Amanda Brandão Ribeiro
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
John Cowart Dawsey; Laura Moutinho da Silva; Edson Luis de Almeida Teles
Advisor: John Cowart Dawsey

The practice of enforced disappearance was adopted by the Brazilian state against political opponents of the regime during the civil-military dictatorship (1964-1985) in a systematic and widespread way. This policy consisted of illegal detention, followed by execution and the concealment of the bodies. In search of news about the disappeared, relatives began to organize into associations, in order to demand the clarification of the circumstances around the deaths (locations and identifications of bodies) and the prosecution of those agents responsible. After more than 40 years, bodies remain unburied and unidentified. The issue of the disappeared always seems return, but never completely solved. The principal milestones of public discussions about this theme were the Law of Amnesty (Lei de Anistia - 1979), the opening of the Vala de Perus (a clandestine ditch were several unidentified bodies were found) (1990), the enactment of the Law of the Dead and Missing (Lei dos Mortos e Desaparecidos - 1995) and, more recently, the installation of the National Commission of Truth (Comissão Nacional da Verdade 2012). Therefore, the motivation of the thesis was to understand how the search for clarification around the circumstances of the deaths, the identification of the bodies and the trials of the accused are linked with the families of the disappeareds elaboration of mourning. From there, I discuss the characteristics assumed by the mourning of an unfinished death, a death without materiality, and how families mobilize and transmit the memory of their beloved, subverting the terror and the silence imposed on them by the State. Finally, I explore how the continuity of the practice of enforced disappearance still carried out by police and military agents today connects past and present in a continuum of human rights violations, inviting the reader of this study to question the effectiveness of the Brazilian democracy. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/01615-6 - Flashes of the past: the inscription of death in public space through the exhumation of the bodies of missing political militants of the Brazilian military dictatorship
Grantee:Amanda Brandão Ribeiro
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master