Collaboration Goals for Chile
In order to maximize my time in Chile, I have created a list of my various research projects and goals in order to facilitate meeting students, faculty, and administrators at the Chilean Universities that have research and interest in similar venues.
- Memory Sites and Memorialization Processes: My current research deal with the memorialization processes that ensue in the aftermath of events of nationally significant violence. While I am interested in violence and its alternatives (see below), this research is not concerned so much the initial eruption of violence, per se, but rather the processes the ensue in the aftermath at the local, regional, national, and occasionally international levels in order to grapple with the following questions: How will we (our community, our nation, etc.) remember this violence? Who is included in the process of the formation of memory, and who is left out? What kinds of discursive formations emerge in these processes that are anterior to the event itself? While my particular project deal with specific kinds of memory sites in the United States, I am hoping to visit or discuss trends in Chilean memory and memorialization as they have responded to 20th century history in Chile. My research draws from three different (sub)fields of study that fall under the larger umbrella of “Memory Studies” and are:
- Memory Theory—from Plato, to Nietzsche, and up to the critical continental philosophers of the 20th century the question of what exactly memory is, how it operates, and how and where its formation is constructed.
- Memorialization Studies—drawing on literature on ritual, death, and group process, this field of study seeks to look at the social, political and cultural processes that ensue when a group of individuals work to process and create knowledge and physical memorial sites around an event that they designate worthy of memorialization.
- Monumentality Studies—this field looks specifically into the design of built space and draws from critical geography and architectural history in order to trace genealogies of the creation of monuments that seek to permanently mark a particular history of a particular people.
- Violence and its Alternatives: My larger interests (read: things I will do after completing my dissertation) tend to circle around the topic of violence as it has manifest in the 20th century specifically, and modernity more generally. This interest has led me, in my past and current research, to look into social movements, theories of violence and nonviolence (firmeza permanente), and the social and cultural effects of structural violence more generally. Chile’s history in the 20th century, from Allendale to Pinochet and beyond is something I would be very interested in hearing about from Chilean scholars in order to both deepening my own understanding of global trends and to share my own experience and research into these global processes.
- Ita Ford & Catholic Missionaries in Chile in the 70s: The work of one of my colleagues has sparked my interest in Ita Ford, a Roman Catholic Maryknoll Sister, who rose to international attention in 1980 when she and three other sisters were brutally raped and murdered in El Salvador in the 9 months after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero by members of the Salvadoran military. Sister Ford’s relationship to Chile is that she had been working in Chile for much of the 1970s during the reign of Pinochet. I would be very interested in making contacts with scholars whose work or personal experience has given them knowledge of Catholic workers generally during 1970s, or if by some strike of luck, with Ita Ford herself. You could say this is my “secret wish” for this particular trip to Chile.
- Buddhist Scholarship and Practice: My personal path and research is also very interested in the global spread of Buddhism, particularly the diaspora of Tibetan Buddhists in the aftermath the invasion of the 1950 invasion of Tibet by China. Discussions of the analytical, practitioner, or spiritual legacy of Buddhism in Chile would be something that I would be excited to engage in if possible.