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Title:Masking the Past: Trauma in Latin American and Peninsular Theatre
Author(s):Morello, Henry James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Goldman, Dara
Department / Program:Spanish
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Scholarship of Spanish and Latin American culture has noted the ways that cultural products respond to the regions' legacy of violence and crisis. These studies have attempted to identify how culture reflects violence and functions as historical memory. A fairly recent field of research dedicated to understanding cultural production related to the Holocaust has argued for reading these cultural products as mediations of social trauma. Building on this scholarship and adding insights from three areas of psychological research (cognitive, clinical and psychoanalytic), this dissertation suggests that we may best be able to understand the way that culture interacts with historical violence if we read culture as the product of a society experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. In this way, theatre is understood as playing a key role in the ways that society responds to trauma. The theatre, conceived as a public experience of culture, is a particularly powerful source for recognizing how societies understand large-scale crisis. Isolating the traumas of Spain's Civil War, the dictatorships of Pinochet in Chile and the military Junta in Argentina this dissertation suggests that theatre enacts four key traumatic tropes: memory, avoidance, repetition compulsion, and witnessing. The first chapter of this study will define post-traumatic stress disorder and contextualize it in terms of the traumas, or the wounds, suffered by Argentina, Chile, and Spain. Lastly, it outlines a set of features that post-traumatic culture exhibits. The rest of the chapters deal with specific texts that differ in their time, location, and style to see how they adhere to the post-traumatic guidelines outlined in the first chapter. The second chapter examines Ariel Dorfman's La muerte y la doncella and Alfonso Sastre's Escuadra hacia la muerte. The third chapter features "El desconcierto" by Diana Raznovich and Lo crudo, lo cocido, lo podrido by Marco Antonio de la Parra. The post-traumatic reaches it pinnacle in the final two works: Informacion para extranjeros by Griselda Gambaro and El arquitecto y el emperador de Asiria. In conclusion, I argue that theatrical representations of these four aspects of trauma help the nation assimilate, understand, by active remembering, their nation's traumatic past.
Issue Date:2006
Description:197 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3242946
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

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