Next week’s conference, La performance del archivo en las post democracias latinoamericanas: diálogos ciudadanos en torno a la memoria y la historia. (Performing the Archive in Post-Transitional Latin America: Civic Dialogues on Memory and History), will bring together 25 specialists in memory studies from the U.S., Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Germany, and Nicaragua to explore the problematic of post-dictatorship memory in Latin America. The colloquium will take place from October 28-30, from 9-6 each day in the Founders Board Room of the Buehler Alumni Center.

A year in the planning and seeded by a special grant the group received from the Davis Humanities Institute in 2011-2012, this colloquium will build on an existing international collaboration among scholars at UC Davis and the Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. This major international conference will create a joint research alliance investigating how “archives” of memory are being defined and deployed in Latin American societies in the turbulent decades following authoritarian rule. Not only will the event and its offshoots have wide appeal on the UC Davis campus, the initiative will position participating faculty to apply for external funding in the emerging area of “memory studies” in the academy.

The first proposal was submitted by Associate Professor of Latin American Literature Michael Lazzara on behalf of the Latin@american Cultural Studies Research Cluster and the program organizers include Lazzara, Fernando A. Blanco (Bucknell University), and Wolfgang Bongers (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile). Professor Lazzara is a specialist in contemporary Latin American literature and culture, with a special interest in the Southern cone and issues concerning dictatorship, democratic transition, trauma, memory, exile and migration. He is author of Chile in Transition: The Poetics and Politics of Memory (2006) and Los años de silencio: conversaciones con narradores chilenos que escribieron bajo dictadura (2002), Luz Arce: Después del infierno (2008), “Prismas de la memoria: narracion y trauma en la transicion chilena” (2007), and translator of Ana María del Río’s novel Óxido de Carmen (Carmen’s Rust).

Two previous colloquia—one held at the Catholic University of Chile (2010) and one held at the University of Leipzig (2011) investigated the epistemological genealogy of the “archive,” theorized it, and explored its genealogical relationship to culture and the humanities in Latin America. The UC Davis colloquium will open several new lines of inquiry that will expand the debate both conceptually and geographically. The colloquium will feature a keynote address (Monday 10/28 at 4:30 p.m.) by world-renowned Chilean visual artist Voluspa Jarpa, who is also a professor at the Catholic University of Chile.

The Cultural Studies in the Americas Research Cluster, which has been continuously active since 2007, has an established trajectory in developing short and long-term interdisciplinary projects. The cluster employs a transamerican approach (fostering dialogue among scholars across the hemisphere) and seeks ways to concretely connect scholarship and pedagogy with political struggles throughout the Americas. They focus on the field of Cultural Studies as it is practiced in the Americas, and specifically on contemporary critical debates, methodologies, and research by scholars working within Cultural Studies rubrics in the humanities and social sciences.

For more information on this research cluster and the memory studies colloquium, visit the official Estudios Culturales en las Américas website.