Presentation Title

Gender and Authoritarianism in Argentina Through Literature

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

School

School of Arts and Humanities

Discipline

Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Mentor

Lisa DiGiovanni

Abstract

This paper analyzes how Argentinean author Martín Kohan critiques the gendered nature of authoritarianism during General Jorge Rafael Videla’s dictatorship (1976-1983). His novel School for Patriots (2007) is set at the end of the seven-year program of National Reorganization, a euphemism for a state-led extermination of leftist political dissidents. Within this setting, Kohan illustrates the impacts of militaristic discourses and state institutions that allowed for the silencing, transformation and disappearance of over 30,000 Argentineans. Drawing from Women’s and Gender Studies, and specifically Michel Foucault’s concept of docile bodies, I show how Kohan illuminates the intersections of the military and the Church within the school apparatus. Together these sought to produce “patriotic soldiers” as well as reproduce gender hierarchies within a surveillance culture. Through setting and characterization, the novel reveals the role of institutions in facilitating an authoritarian culture that has contributed to widespread misogyny, militarism and the extermination of opposition.

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Gender and Authoritarianism in Argentina Through Literature

This paper analyzes how Argentinean author Martín Kohan critiques the gendered nature of authoritarianism during General Jorge Rafael Videla’s dictatorship (1976-1983). His novel School for Patriots (2007) is set at the end of the seven-year program of National Reorganization, a euphemism for a state-led extermination of leftist political dissidents. Within this setting, Kohan illustrates the impacts of militaristic discourses and state institutions that allowed for the silencing, transformation and disappearance of over 30,000 Argentineans. Drawing from Women’s and Gender Studies, and specifically Michel Foucault’s concept of docile bodies, I show how Kohan illuminates the intersections of the military and the Church within the school apparatus. Together these sought to produce “patriotic soldiers” as well as reproduce gender hierarchies within a surveillance culture. Through setting and characterization, the novel reveals the role of institutions in facilitating an authoritarian culture that has contributed to widespread misogyny, militarism and the extermination of opposition.