Performance, Kinship and Archives: Queering Acts of Mourning in the Aftermath of Argentina’s 1976-1983 Dictatorship.
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In the aftermath of Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976-1983), the organisations created by the relatives of the disappeared deployed the trope of a ‘wounded family’. The unspoken rule was that only those related by blood to the missing were entitled to ask for justice. This thesis queers this biological tradition. Drawing from performance studies and queer theory, it develops an alternative framework for understanding the transmission of trauma beyond bloodline inscriptions. It shows how grief brought into light an idea of community that exceeds traditional family ties. In order to demonstrate this, the thesis builds an archive of non-normative acts of mourning. This archive crosses different generations. The introduction utilises the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo’s statement ‘Our Children gave birth to us’ as the departure for a non-biological linage. Chapter 1 shows how the black humour that informs H.I.J.O.S., the association created by the children of the disappeared, works as a form of affective reparation in the face of loss. Chapter 2 proposes a dialogue between Los Rubios (Albertina Carri, 2003), M (Nicolás Prividera, 2007) and La mujer sin cabeza (Lucrecia Martel, 2008) to show how these films manage to displace the normative cult of the victim. Chapter 3 conceives the cooking sessions that take place at ESMA former detention camp as a form of conversion of this site of death. Chapter 4 explores Lola Arias’ Mi vida después (2009) as an intergenerational artefact for the transmission of trauma on- and off-stage. Chapter 5 considers Félix Bruzzone’s novella Los topos (2008) as the announcement of a new language of kinship. In conclusion, the thesis argues that the aftermath of violence not only produced pain but also new forms of pleasure. Ultimately, it sheds light on a new sense of ‘being together’ that has emerged in the wake of loss.
- Theses