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"Telling bodies in the memories of dictatorship (South America, 1970s)"

Cristina Scheibe Wolff

This paper presents research results that focus on the use of gender and emotions in the rhetoric of resistance movements to dictatorships in the countries of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) from a perspective of "Histoire Croisée'. In interviews conducted in the research, as well as other sources such as periodicals, autobiographies and memoirs, statements to commissions, the bodies of political activists, male and female, are used to effect a shared experience with the public and to enhance empathy. This experience, according to Raymond Williams (1985), would be a particular kind of consciousness, distinct from "reason" or "knowledge," that is, a kind of consciousness in which emotions and affects must be taken into account. Gender also helps us to see important aspects of how men and women deal, differently or not, with these experiences. In addition to the experience, embodied in the one who narrates her body, as in that person who listens and who experiences in another way, often also embodied in tears, shivers, laughter, and other gestures, these narratives also have political agency.