The Other September 11th: Chile, 1973: Memory, Resistance, and Democratization

Two day conference (Nov. 8-9) will examine the history and legacy of Chile's military dictatorship and struggles for democracy, past and present.

The Other September 11th: Chile, 1973: Memory, Resistance, and Democratization

[September 11, 1973 coup d'├ętat] (Photo: Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile). Used under Creation Commons Attribution 3.0 Chile License (CC BY 3.0 CL).

September 11, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the violent overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected Socialist president, Salvador Allende, and the onset of a 17-year military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet.  September 11, 1973 became a watershed in global cold war politics.  For many, it signified the tragic end, or impossibility, of a democratic socialist society. It affirmed the United States’ willingness to back brutal regimes and use its own military power throughout Latin America in the name of national security and freedom.  Indeed, many of the arguments currently mobilized by Washington for the “war on terrorism” in the Middle East were first crafted for Latin America in the mid-20th Century.  Under Pinochet, Chile became the world’s first poster-child for neoliberal economics, radically privatizing the welfare state and making market competition the central organizing tenant of civil society.  Celebrated in international business circles as an “economic miracle,” the Chilean model would be embraced by (or forced upon) most developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s.   Since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990, much of Pinochet’s neoliberal model has remained intact, generating extraordinary inequalities despite continued economic growth and political pluralism.  Recently, massive social movements have erupted across Chile condemning worsening disparities and intensified state violence.  Students at the University of Chile have been on strike for almost a year over the privatization of higher education, a struggle itself inspired by concurrent strikes and mass demonstrations by grade school and high school students.  Mapuche activists have sustained hunger strikes and other protests against the usurpation of indigenous rights and land by the logging industry.  Environmentalists are waging an international campaign to prevent the destruction of the Patagonia wilderness by private water companies. Chile’s current pro-democracy struggles emphasize the legacies of military rule but squarely place responsibility for enduring social injustices on elected leaders (across the political spectrum) and on a political/economic model they argue is not democratic.

November 8-9, 2013
“The Other September 11th: Chile, 1973 Memory, Resistance, and Democratization"
Royce 314, UCLA

This two-day conference will foster an interdisciplinary reflection on the history and legacies of Chile’s military dictatorship and struggles for democracy, past and present.  The conference aims to re-center the history of Latin American cold war violence within contemporary debates about radical inequality, state repression, terrorism, and democratic struggle. A total of eight planned panels and round-tables will generate discussion on topics such as:  Chilean Cultural Politics and Social Movements in the 1960s-1973; State Violence and U.S. Foreign Policy; Neoliberalism and Civil Society; Memory, Representation, and Resistance; Pro-Democracy Struggles, 1980s-2010s; Education and Social Justice; Environment and Capitalism; Indigenous Rights and Nation; and International Media and Solidarity Movements. Additionally, the conference will screen two movies by Chilean filmmaker Sergio Castilla, Mijita (Chile, 1970) and Prisioneros desaparecidos (Cuba, 1979) and have and special Chilean guest author Carla Geulfenbein (“El Resto es Silencio,””La Mujer de Mi Vida”).

Conference Program
Day One: Friday, November 8, 2013

9:00am - 9:15am 
Welcoming Remarks
David Schaberg, Dean of Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles
Verónica Cortínez, University of California, Los Angeles
Angela Vergara, California State University, Los Angeles

Keynote Lecture
“The Political Architecture of Dictatorship: Chilean Democracy 1925-1973”
Brian Loveman, San Diego State University

Respondent: Sebastián Edwards, University of California, Los Angeles
Moderator: Angela Vergara, California State University, Los Angeles

11:00am - 11:30am
Coffee Break

11:30am - 1:30pm
Unidad Popular: Revolution and Reaction
Chair: Marc Cooper, University of Southern California

“In the Fist of the Revolution: Industrial Workers in Allende’s Chile” 
Peter Winn, Tufts University

“The Agrarian Reform in the Forests: Forestry, Rural Labor, and the State in Chile, 1964-1973”
Thomas Klubock, University of Virginia

“Struggles in the Countryside: Women, Men, and Family Politics, 1964-1990”
Heidi Tinsman, University of California, Irvine

1:30pm - 2:30pm

2:30pm - 5:00pm
 Working Through the Trauma of the Coup in Literature and Film
Chair: Verónica Cortínez, University of California, Los Angeles

Zurita: Ways of Exhuming the Day of the Coup”
María Luisa Fischer, Hunter College, CUNY

“Strange Co-Pilots: Raúl Zurita and Roberto Bolaño’s Inscriptions of Violence”
Roberto Castillo Sandoval, Haverford College

“Niki, Johnny, and Charly: Delinquency and Citizenship in Chilean Film and Television”
Leah Kemp, University of Southern California

“No and No: The 1988 Campaign and Pablo Larraín’s Film”
Paula Cronovich, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego

“Coup and Exile: Experience, Memory and Creation”
Carla Guelfenbein, Writer and Columnist

Saturday, November 9, 2013

8:30am - 10:30am
The Political and Institutional Legacies of the Coup
Chair: Angela Vergara, California State University, Los Angeles

“The Political Significance of the Coup for Chilean Democracy: Hopes, Expectations and Reality”
Lois Oppenheim, American Jewish University, Los Angeles

“¿Una nueva justicia en Chile? Changes and Continuing Challenges Forty Years after the Coup”
Lisa Hilbink, University of Minnesota

“The Partido Demócrata Cristiano in Post-Coup Chile”
Michael Fleet, Marquette University

10:30am - 11:00am
Coffee Break

11:00am - 1:00pm: 
Decolonizing the Bío-Bío: Mapuche History and Action
Chair: Suyapa Portillo Villeda, Pitzer College

“No + palabra wingka: escrituras de agenciamiento mapuche en la ‘transición democrática’ en Chile”
Luis Cárcamo-Huechante, University of Texas, Austin

“Mapuche Hunger Acts and Cultural Memory”
Macarena Gómez-Barris, University of Southern California

“The Archaeology of the National-Security State: Mapuche Visions of the Nation and Chilean Rejections of Federalism, 1850s to the Present”
Florencia Mallon, University of Wisconsin, Madison

1:00pm - 2:00pm

2:00pm - 4:00pm
The Memory Question in Chile, 40 Years Later
Chair: Michael Lazzara, University of California, Davis

“When ‘Memory’ Mattered: The Curious History of a Cultural Code Word, and Why It Matters”
Steve Stern, University of Wisconsin, Madison

“Chile: la experiencia de reparación, memoria y justicia en Magallanes 40 años después”
Elizabeth Lira, Universidad Alberto Hurtado

“Empathic Unsettlement and the Outsider within Memory Spaces in Chile”
Katherine Hite, Vassar College

“Empathic Unsettlement and the Outsider within Memory Spaces in Chile”
Michael Lazzara, University of California, Davis

4:00pm - 4:30pm
Coffee Break

4:30pm - 6:30pm
Human Rights, Memory and Representation: Courts, Documents and Performances
Chair: Alicia del Campo, California State University, Long Beach

“‘Con todas las de la ley’: Human Rights Defense in and through the Courts in (post) Pinochet Chile”
Cath Collins, Universidad Diego Portales,

“Secret Documents on Chile: Searching for Justice, Truth and Dignity in the Declassified Records of History”
Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive

“Derechos humanos, memoria y teatralidades refundacionales: la lucha del movimiento estudiantil”
Alicia del Campo, California State Univesity, Long Beach, 

6:30pm - 7:00pm: Closing Remarks: Audience
Moderators: Alicia del Campo, California State University, Long Beach
Macarena Gómez-Barris, University of Southern California


Organized by Verónica Cortínez (University of California, Los Angeles), Alicia Del Campo (California State University, Long Beach), Macarena Gómez-Barris (University of Southern California), Michael Lazzara (University of California, Davis), Heidi Tinsman (University of California, Irvine), Ericka Verba (California State University, Dominguez Hills), Angela Vergara (California State University, Los Angeles)

Major Sponsors: UCLA Latin American Institute and UC Humanities Research Institute

Co-Sponsored by: Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies, College of Natural and Social Sciences (Cal State, LA), Cal State, Long Beach, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity (USC), Department of Spanish and Portuguese (UC, Davis), Departments of History and International Studies (UC, Irvine), Dean of Humanities, Department of Spanish and Portuguese (UCLA)


Download file:11-8-13-Chile-1973-uc-rvi.pdf