Latin American Studies

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Democracy in Chile

The Legacy of September 11, 1973

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Democracy in Chile won the Arthur P. Whitaker Prize for the best book published by a MACLAS member in 2005–2006

In the 1990s, Latin America emerged from the horror of massive and systematic human rights violations as the region returned to civilian-elected regimes. Many hoped that such transitions would bring about significant political, economic and cultural change: the rebuilding a more democratic order based on a “culture of human rights” that would reinvigorate democratic practices in the region. Despite the change in political regimes, such aspirations have come up against the “recalcitrant realities” of enduring military enclaves demanding impunity for past crimes, the persistence of neoliberal economics, ineffective and, in some cases, corrupt government coalitions, as well as the seemingly insatiable demands of private domestic and international capital for “flexible” labor and unregulated capital flows.

The tragic events of 9/11 have become so pivotal in current debates on US domestic and foreign policy, that the “other” 9/11, that which took place three decades ago in Chile, seems to have been relegated to a distant footnote. This volume aims to re-examine Chile’s 9/11 – a historically and symbolically charged event – and to explore the lasting legacy of the transformations brought about by the oppressive regimes of the ’70s and ’80s as they are being experienced today in the cultural, social and intellectual life of the region.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-081-1
Hardback Price: £55.00 / £67.50
Release Date: March 2013
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-202-0
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $37.50
Release Date: March 2013
Page Extent / Format: 280 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface by Marjorie Agosín

Introduction: Three Decades After the “Other” 9/11

Part I USA / Chilean Relations
Empire, Intervention and Historical Memory

1 Finding the Pinochet File: Pursuing Truth, Justice, and Historical Memory through Declassified US Documents
Peter Kornbluh

2 Chile and the United States Thirty Years Later: Return of the Repressed?
Steven S. Volk

3 Small Earthquakes and Major Eruptions: Anglo-Chilean Cultural Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth
Kevin Foster

Part II Legacies
Neoliberal Reconstructing of the Economy and Society

4 Integration without Real Participation: The Chilean Labor Movement
Volker Frank

5 From Pinochet’s State Terrorism to the “Politics of Participation”
Fernando Leiva

6 Sustainable Development or Sustained Conflict? Logging Companies, Neoliberal Policies and Mapuche Communities in Chile
Diane Haughney

7 Higher Education in Chile Thirty Years After Salvador Allende: Privatization, Mass Education, Profits
and Exclusion
Patricia Tomic and Ricardo Trumper

Part III Challenges
Human Rights, Impunity and Democratization

8 Pinochet: A Study in Impunity
Mark Ensalaco

9 Alternative “Pasts” in Post-Pinochet Chile: The Relation of History/Fiction and the Subjectification of History
Ornella Lepri Mazzuca

10 Ephemeral Histories: Public Art as Political Practice in Santiago, Chile, 1970–1973
Camilo Trumper

11 Remembering the Future: The Narrative Politics of José Miguel Varas
Gregory J. Lobo

12 The Marginal on the Inside: Nannies and Maids in Chilean Cultural Production (1982–2000)
Julia Carroll

Part IV Cultural Representations
Repression and Shifting Subjectivities

13 Exporting Chile: Film and Literature After 1973
Amy A. Oliver

14 Me moría: Aesthetics, Documentary and the Creation of Nostalgia in Patricio Guzmán’s Chile, memoria obstinada
Jeffrey R. Middents

15 Reception and Censorship of a Chilean Documentary: The Plight of Fernando Is Back
Kristin Sorensen

16 Re/coiling Inscription: Incisive Moments in Diamela Eltit and Jacques Derrida
Andrea Bachner

Epilogue: The Struggle for Truth and Justice in Chile and the Challenges of Latin American Democracy
Fabiola Letelier


This conference volume is unusual – and valuable – for its primary focus on Chile after the end of the dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in 1990. The authors in this anthology generally share the Left’s critical gaze and offer a critique of Chile’s much-lauded transition to democracy and neo-liberal economic miracle, lending the book an ideological cohesion.
The Americas Review

Almost all contributions are concise, well documented and well written, and together take stock of both the state of affairs of Chile’s efforts to come to grips with its dictatorial history, and of the many pending economic, political and judicial injustices that yet need to be taken on … a timely, well-documented collection that reminds us of the fact that to state that ‘democracy has returned in Chile’ is, to say the least, premature.
European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The date September 11th now most commonly refers to the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, but for Chileans it carries resonance as the day in 1973 of Pinochet’s coup against the elected president, socialist Salvador Allende, and the beginning of years of dictatorship. This collection of writings explores the legacies of that fateful day as they were experienced in the immediate aftermath through to today’s democratic era.
Reference and Research

The interdisciplinary nature of the book enhances its ability to cover a range of topics and incorporate a variety of approaches, thus deepening the scope of questions asked (and answered) and subjects covered. The editors have done a very good job of bringing together an assorted set of chapters that they successfully weave together with helpful introductions… Although each chapter stands on its own, combined they offer a powerful answer to the question: What impact has the military coup that overthrew the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende had on Chilean society, culture, and politics?
A Journal on Social History and Literature in Latin America

Well researched and crafted interdisciplinary essays, and a superb team edition and introductory words. This book not only will take the readers to the indispensable understanding of the reasons that make possible to parallel those two traumatic events in the recent history of the Americas, but also and most importantly it will speak thoroughly to their emotions, reminding them of the continuing dual art of forgetfulness and forgiveness, a crucial task of many successive generations seeking a healthy democracy.
Luis Correa-Diaz, University of Georgia

This volume gives an overall view of Chile today and it offers the reader an instructive glimpse into what the future might hold for this country.
Marjorie Agosín, Wellesley College

In an important investigation of Chile after September 11, 1973, the authors and editors have effectively linked particular events and trends in the recent Chilean past with patterns of globalization in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This excellent collection will be of most use to specialists but also may be rewarding for graduate students interested in recent Chilean history and society.
Hispanic American Historical Review

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