Senior Project Advisor
Ernest Rafael Hartwell
Argentina, dictatorship, memory, percepticide, memorials
This paper explores the complex relationship between perspective and percepticide in how we remember Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976-1983). I use existing literature about the dictatorship and my experience studying abroad in Argentina to reflect on the problem of “looking at both sides,” as it legitimizes the violence of the dictatorship and minimizes the significance of state terror. Considering the Parque de la Memoria (Memory Park) in Buenos Aires as a case study, I analyze three aspects of the park — the sculpture “Pensar es un hecho revolucionario,” the Monumento a las Víctimas del Terrorismo de Estado (Monument to the Victims of State Terror), and the statue “Reconstrucción del retrato de Pablo Míguez” — to discuss the park’s history, including debates about its objectives and effectiveness, and these pieces’ visual politics as they relate to our collective memory of the dictatorship. As opposed to “looking at both sides,” the park attempts to create a narrative that recognizes differences in power and serves as a physical reminder of the dictatorship and the effects of state terror, combating percepticide. I find that when obscured by people’s subjectivities surrounding the dictatorship, as I saw with my host mother, perspective can contribute to the perpetuation of a historical percepticide concerning the dictatorship’s legacy; however, as demonstrated by the Parque de la Memoria, perspective is also necessary to dismantle percepticide and find truth. Although the focus of this paper is on the dictatorship in Argentina, the issues that I discuss take place within a larger context of “memory struggles” for countries that have experienced dictatorships, wars, and armed conflicts in our world’s more recent history.
Modern and Classical Languages
Berver, Lily, ""You Have to Look at Both Sides": Percepticide and Memory in Argentina's Parque de la Memoria" (2023). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 739.
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