Reflections on Memory and Democracy

Reflections on Memory and Democracy


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What is the role of history in the life of new democracies? In this volume, twelve reflections—the work of journalists, writers and poets, literary critics, political scientists, historians, philosophers, economists, and linguists—explore legacies of authoritarian political regimes noted for repression and injustice, questioning how collective experiences of violence shape memory and its relevance for contemporary social and political life in Latin America. The past matters deeply, the essayists agree, but the past itself is debatable and ambiguous. Avoiding its repetition introduces elusive and contested terrain; there are, indeed, many histories, many memories, and many ways they can be reflected in democratic contexts. In much of contemporary Latin America, this difficult past has not yet been fully confronted, and much remains to be done in reconciling memory and democracy throughout the region. As this is done, the lessons of the past must contribute not only to the construction of democratic institutions, but also to the engagement of democratic citizens in the collective work of governance and participation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674088290
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/14/2016
Series: Series on Latin American Studies , #31
Edition description: 1/1
Pages: 274
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Merilee S. Grindle is Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development, Emerita, at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the former Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

Erin E. Goodman is Associate Director of Programs at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Prologue: Arpilleras Marjorie Agosín ix

1 Introduction: Democracies in the Shadow of Memory Merilee S. Grindle 1

I Remembering and Democracy: Memory and Its Place in Democratic Institutions

2 Memory as a Pillar for Democracy and Reconciliation in Chile Sergio Bitar 23

3 Searching for Irma: A Public and Private Quest for Memory June Erlick 31

4 Unearthing Haiti's Buried Memories Michèle Montas 53

5 Memory and the Search for a Democratic Society Salomón Lerner Fehres 75

II The Challenges of "Capturing" Memory

6 Operation Memory: Contemporary Argentine Novelists Wrestle with History Marguerite Feitlowitz 95

7 Acts of Opening, Acts of Freedom: Women Write Mexico 1968 (Roberta Avendano's On Freedom and Imprison merit) Susana Draper 121

8 Preserving Maya Oral Literature Through Recorded Memories Ava Berinstein 137

III Citizenship and Democratic Futures

9 The Weight of the Past, the Politics of the Present, and the Future of Democracy in Brazil and the Southern Cone Frances Hagopian 157

10 The Memory of Politics: Pre-Coup Democracy and Chile's Democratic Transition Peter Winn 183

11 A Place for the Dead in the City of the Living: The Central Cemetery of Bogotá Paolo Vignolo 215

12 Summing Up: Many Voices, Many Histories, Many Memories Erin Goodman 243

Appendix: Conference Program 257

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