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Writing prison : women political prisoners and the power of telling / by Miren Edurne Portela.

Publication | Library Call Number: HV8738 .P67 2003

This dissertation is a transatlantic study that engages accounts of carceral experiences lived by women under repressive regimes in Argentina (during the Proceso, or “Dirty War,” from 1976 to 1983) and Spain (under Franco's dictatorship, especially from 1972 to 1975). My study explores the prison texts of Lidia Falcón, Alicia Partnoy, and Alicia Kozameh. The first chapter focuses both on the historical contexts during which the narratives are produced as well as on the main theoretical debates that I embrace throughout the dissertation: discourses of space and power, representations of memory and trauma, testimonial writing, and historical representations from the perspective of women political prisoners. The second, third, and fourth chapters undertake the analysis of Lidia Falcón's En el infierno, Alicia Partnoy's The Little School and Alicia Kozameh's Pasos bajo el agua, respectively. The analysis of the three texts is based on the study of the strategies of representation used to retell the carceral experiences. Informed by poststructuralist theories of space, I focus on the study of how Falcón's En el infierno conveys the representational space of prison as a mechanism of repression against women as well as an instrument of resistance. I employ psychoanalytic theory and writings on the Holocaust to interpret Partnoy's The Little School as a text that problematizes the representation of a traumatized self while engaging in a debate about how theories of power relations can be revised through the analysis of narratives such as Partnoy's. The analysis of Kozameh's text focuses on how the act of remembering and writing becomes a conscious epistemological and ethical instrument, a way to interpret, reconstruct, and understand traumatic experiences such as prison and its survival. Through the analysis of these three narratives, this dissertation contributes to the understanding of power and gender relations under repressive conditions, the dynamics of memory when trying to recount traumatic experiences, and the act of writing as a practice of self-reconstruction, solidarity, defiance, and self-healing.

Portela, M. Edurne, 1974-
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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