This project looks at the narrative fiction of Argentina's "children of the disappeared" through the lens of trauma. In Argentina, over the course of the past decades, the most recent dictatorship (1976-1983) has imposed itself as a cultural trauma which has profoundly altered the ways in which the country's past is being thought and talked about. First and foremost, this is the result of a particular brand of memory activism developed through the 1980's and '90's, in which organisations populated by family members (mothers, grandmothers, children) of the victims foregrounded a discourse of "Memory, Truth and Justice" -thus installing a hegemonic framework in which kinship and memory work went hand in hand. However, over the course of the last 15-20 years, a considerable number of so-called "hijo" authors and artists, as well as cultural critics, have also come to challenge key aspects of this discourse.
The study of trauma in culture, on the other hand, came to fruition during these same two decades, specifically in Anglo-Saxon Holocaust studies. This framework was dominated by the interweaving of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, on the one hand, and deconstructivist literary analysis in the tradition of Lyotard and Derrida, on the other hand, and remains influential to this day. By analyzing a corpus of novels published by "hijos" in the last 15 years, this project aims to confront these trauma theories with Argentina's particular memory discourse, as well as with the country's own long-standing tradition of psychoanalytical and psychosocial thought. My goal in doing so is threefold:
1- introducing Anglo-Saxon thnking on trauma to a Latin American academic audience, as a considerable part of the field's most influential thinkers have as yet not been translated into Spanish;
2- questioning and dislodging a number of important aesthetic and ethical premises within Western trauma theory through the close reading of a corpus born out of a fundamentally different political context and conception of memory activism;
3- through this same close reading, investigating the ways in which "hijo" authors engage with, and uproot, the cultural tropes and schemata for coping with the dictatorship's traumas that the hegemonic kinship-based discourse imposed on them.