Title

Gendered Violence and Corporeal Memories in Post-Dictatorship Narrative from Chile and Argentina

Subject Area

Hispanic Women Writers

Abstract

State terrorism during the military dictatorships in Argentina (1976-1983) and in Chile (1973-1990) dehumanized both men and women through torture and other human rights violations, yet it implicated bodies in gender-specific ways. In this presentation, I look at the representation and impact of gendered violence on the female body in post-dictatorship literature by Chilean novelist Diamela Eltit and Argentine author Alicia Kozameh. I show that their narratives provide creative and valuable insight into the ways in which female bodies and subjectivities are able to resist and complicate the meaning imposed on them by the military state.

My analysis of Eltit’s Jamás el fuego nunca (2007) demonstrates that the narrator’s female aging body is in fact narrating the silenced version of a painful past in which she physically experienced the horror of a brutal dictatorship. Similarly, in her collection of short stories Ofrenda de propia piel (2004), Kozameh places the materiality of the insubordinate body at the core of her texts to expose past oppression, document physical acts of resistance, and testify to the challenges of surviving traumatic experiences.

Kozameh and Eltit each denounce state terrorism and illustrate how its many consequences are inscribed on the physical body and thus impact women’s experience and creativity. For the above-mentioned authors, writing the female body therefore has direct social and moral relevance that goes beyond the specificity of women’s rights.

Brief Bio Note

Nancy Tille-Victorica is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Armstrong State University. Her research explores the representation of pain and the impact of gendered violence on the body in post-dictatorship novels by female authors from the Southern Cone. She has presented at the annual LASA and MLA conferences, and her work has been published in Ambitos Feministas and Pterodáctilo. She holds a Ph.D in Hispanic Literature from the University of Texas at Austin.

Keywords

Body, Violence, Trauma, Women, Eltit, Kozameh, Memory

Location

Room 211

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 1:30 PM Mar 26th, 2:45 PM

Gendered Violence and Corporeal Memories in Post-Dictatorship Narrative from Chile and Argentina

Room 211

State terrorism during the military dictatorships in Argentina (1976-1983) and in Chile (1973-1990) dehumanized both men and women through torture and other human rights violations, yet it implicated bodies in gender-specific ways. In this presentation, I look at the representation and impact of gendered violence on the female body in post-dictatorship literature by Chilean novelist Diamela Eltit and Argentine author Alicia Kozameh. I show that their narratives provide creative and valuable insight into the ways in which female bodies and subjectivities are able to resist and complicate the meaning imposed on them by the military state.

My analysis of Eltit’s Jamás el fuego nunca (2007) demonstrates that the narrator’s female aging body is in fact narrating the silenced version of a painful past in which she physically experienced the horror of a brutal dictatorship. Similarly, in her collection of short stories Ofrenda de propia piel (2004), Kozameh places the materiality of the insubordinate body at the core of her texts to expose past oppression, document physical acts of resistance, and testify to the challenges of surviving traumatic experiences.

Kozameh and Eltit each denounce state terrorism and illustrate how its many consequences are inscribed on the physical body and thus impact women’s experience and creativity. For the above-mentioned authors, writing the female body therefore has direct social and moral relevance that goes beyond the specificity of women’s rights.