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Week 2: Latin America and the Global Politics of Human Rights

Chile Solidarity

Week 2: Latin America and the Global Politics of Human Rights: Authoritarianism, insurgency, and counter insurgency.

Seminar Questions:

What was the nature of the authoritarian regimes in South America in the late twentieth century? What was the nature of the civil conflict in Central America and Colombia? What was the impact on state-society relations regarding the protection of rights? What was the impact of the Cold War and the international order? What was the civil society response to the regimes and what effect did this have on the development of a Latin American tradition of human rights? How did the Transnational Solidarity Movement develop? 


TW: The material in this section includes accounts of abuse and torture. 


Core Readings: 


Frenz, Helmut. "A Bishop Saving Singers: Tales of Torture in Pinochet's Chile." Dialog: A Journal of Theology, vol. 47, no. 3, Fall 2008, p. 251. 


Patrick William Kelly. Sovereign Emergencies: Latin America and the Making of Global Human Rights Politics. Cambridge University Press: 2018. (Introduction and conclusion and raid the contents and index for what you are interested in.) 


Alexander Wilde. Religious Responses to Violence: Human Rights in Latin America Past and Present. University of Notre Dame Press: 2015. (Esp Chapter 1-then a chapter on a region you are interested in from Part 1: Ch 4, Central America, Ch 5, Chile, Ch 8 Brazil)

For research on Colombia see:

Abbey Steele. Democracy and Displacement in Colombia's Civil War. Cornell University Press, 2017. (Chapters 2 and 3) 

Background Reading:

Grandin, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. University of Chicago Press, 2011. (Introduction and Conclusion, esp. sections on the Cold War as revolution and counterrevolution)

Archival Research Activity: 

Read the blog about the State Crimes in Latin America 1962-2012. Collection H at CaMENA

Now look at the blog about the the origins of the archive, The Aliveness of Memory: The Academic Centre for the Memory of Nuestra America

How would knowing about the collection inform your research in the archive? 

Using the MRC Digital Collection 

Look at the Warwick Digital Archive of the Chile Solidarity Campaign. 

Why is knowing about the collection and who collected it important for your research?

Choose a document. How might it be useful for an essay on this subject? How might it be less useful?

See also the MRC Digital Collection World University Service. 


Further Reading: 

Andrews, George Reid. Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay. University of North Carolina Press, 2010. (Chapter 5: Dictatorship to Democracy).

Roddy Brett. “Political Violence and Terrorism in Colombia.” The Cambridge History of Terrorism, edited by Richard English, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2021, pp. 387–419.

Roddy Brett. The origins and dynamics of genocide: political violence in Guatemala. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph, A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War. Duke, 2010.

Grandin, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Michael George Hanchard. Orpheus and Power: The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil 1945-1988. Princeton University Press, 1994.  

Mala Htun, Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family under Latin American Dictatorships and Democracies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Margaret E. Keck, and Kathryn Sikkink. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Cornell University Press, 1998. (Chapter 3 and Chapter 5)

Grace Livingstone. Britain and the Dictatorships of Argentina and Chile, 1973-82 : Foreign Policy, Corporations and Social Movements, Springer International Publishing AG, 2018.  

Jadwiga E. Pieper Mooney, “Forging Feminisms under Dictatorship: Women’s International Ties and National Feminist Empowerment in Chile, 1973-1990.” Women’s History Review, vol. 19, no. 4, Sept. 2010, pp. 613–630.

Diana Taylor Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s Dirty War. Duke, 1997.

Kenneth Serbin. Secret dialogues: church-state relations, torture, and social justice in authoritarian Brazil. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press 2000. 

Kathryn Sikkink. Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America. (Cornell University Press, 2011)

William Michael Schmidli.The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina (Cornell, 2013).

Abbey Steele. Democracy and Displacement in Colombia's Civil War. Cornell University Press, 2017. (Chapters 2 and 3) 

Steve J. Stern. Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet's Chile, 1973-1988. Duke University Press, 2006.

Jessica Stites Mor (ed.) Human Rights and Transnational Solidarity in Cold War Latin America, University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.

Markarian, Vania. Left in Transformation: Uruguayan Exiles and the Latin American Human Rights Network, 1967 -1984, Routledge, 2005.

Jan Eckel, ‘The Rebirth of Politics from the Spirit of Morality: Explaining the Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s’ in Moyn and Eckel (eds.), The Breakthrough: Human Rights in the 1970s (U Penn: 2013), 226-260.


Primary Sources: 

Guatemala: Testimonio Rigoberta Menchú, I Rigoberta (1984) Menchu, Rigoberta. I, Rigoberta Menchu : An Indian Woman in Guatemala edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, Verso, 2010.

Chile: Warwick Digital Archive of the Chile Solidarity Campaign. 

Chile: Voices of Humanitarianism: British Responses to Refugees from Chile

Some films, podcasts and projects: 

Patricio Guzmán's film series, La batalla de Chile. Chile, 1975-79.

The Official Story. Dir. Luis Puenzo. Argentina, 1985.

Machuca. Dir. Andrés Wood. Chile/ Spain, 2004.

Third Cinema Films. Cine Tercer Mundo 


The political musical genre, Nueva Cancion

Chile: Victor Jara, Violetta Parra

Tropicalia in Brazil

Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil