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Narratives of Terror and Disappearance. Fantastic Dimensions of Argentina' s Collective Memory since the Military Dictatorship

Objective

Terror and its social and cultural effects are the most unspeakable and traumatic facts of the 20th and 21st centuries. The two-fold argument is that terror a) operates and perpetuates itself by means of fantastic narratives, and b) is one of the characteristic elements evoked by the fantastic genre. This project seeks to investigate the interdependency of fantastic narrative and the historical phenomenon of terror. The five-year, six-member project combines a literary theoretical reassessment of the fantastic as a mode of telling the unspeakable with a historical case study of the Argentinean 'war on terrorism' during the military dictatorship of 1976-83 and its aftermath. The discourses of actual terror and imaginary fantastic intersect in the figure of the Disappeared: those suspected of terrorist activities against the state were systematically abducted, tortured, murdered, and forced to disappear. The Disappeared are not merely missing subjects, but also a social cipher of indeterminacy that decisively organizes traumatic past and political present through narrative. This project uses an approach which combines narratological analysis with a Cultural Studies perspective including Political Science and Social Anthropology to investigate the specific ways that the figure of the Disappeared shapes the Argentinean social body, its histories and collective self-understanding. For the first time, the Disappeared are analyzed as integral figures of the transition between historical reality and fantastical imagination. Their case history represents a paradigm for a terroristic answer to terrorism and can shed light on current debates on the war on terrorism . The research group will enquire into the conditions of emergence, authorships, paths of dissemination, the semantic de-and re-codings and reciprocal relations of concepts of terror, security and subversion. The methodology therefore combines qualitative Cultural Studies with quantitative analyses.

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-StG
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Host institution

UNIVERSITAT KONSTANZ
Address
Universitatsstrasse 10
78464 Konstanz
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 860 688
Principal investigator
Kirsten Mahlke (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Christina Leib-Keßler (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (2)

UNIVERSITAT KONSTANZ
Germany
EU contribution
€ 860 688
Address
Universitatsstrasse 10
78464 Konstanz
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Kirsten Mahlke (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Christina Leib-Keßler (Ms.)
RUPRECHT-KARLS-UNIVERSITAET HEIDELBERG

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 339 312
Address
Seminarstrasse 2
69117 Heidelberg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Norbert Huber (Dr.)