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

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

A two-day conference examining the history and legacy of Chile's military dictatorship and struggles for democracy, past and present.

Saturday, November 09, 2013
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Royce 314

September 11, 2013 marked 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. 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. 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 tenet of civil society. The Chilean model would be embraced by (or forced upon) most developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s. 

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.  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.

The two-day 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 and two Chilean films will be screened.

“The Other September 11th: Chile, 1973 — Memory, Resistance and Democratization” brings together experts from Chile and across the United States, together with special Chilean guests author Carla Geulfenbein (“El Resto es Silencio,””La Mujer de Mi Vida”) and filmmaker Sergio Castilla.

Conference Program
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

Off-campus film screeningt:
Chilean Peña
8:00 pm
Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC)
685 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291


Conference 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)

Cost: Free and open to the public

For more information please contact

Veronica Cortinez

Download File: 11-8-13-Chile-1973-4c-mtt.pdf

Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Spanish and Portuguese, Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies, Radical History Review, College of Natural and Social Sciences (Cal State LA), College of Liberal Arts and Latin American Studies (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), UCLA Dean of Humanities