Category: Unearthing the Past

Discovering Dominga: Adoptions and Tangled Truths

In the open central market one morning in Rabinal, Guatemala, 28-year-old Denese Becker picked up a bolt of corte cloth, woven fabric used by Achi Maya women to make their skirts, and brought it to her face. She closed her eyes. “My mother,” she said. “This smells like my mother.” I knew which one she was talking about….

Neruda and the Chilean Open Graves: Windows of Hope

Chilean graves have been opening during the last years. Remains of poet Pablo Neruda were removed last May from his tomb facing the Pacific in the small Chilean coastal town of Isla Negra. Before Neruda, in May 2011, remains of former President Salvador Allende were also unburied, to fully determine if he in fact committed suicide while military forces bombarded the presidential palace. …

In Search of Miss Esme: Memories and History of the Spanish Civil War

As a historian I have never worked on the Spanish Civil War. My concerns were Argentine History and women in Latin America. Yet the Spanish Civil War has been central to my life and that of my family. The war years left deep scars in all of us, scars that bled profusely as soon as we began to speak about certain topics….

Notes from Exile: Horizons of Democracy

It certainly sounded glamorous at the time—and even might sound so today. In October 1981, I flew from Berkeley, California, where I had been visiting, to attend an academic conference at Yale University on political scenarios under the Chilean dictatorship. I had an airline ticket in my pocket to take me, after the conference, to Lund, Sweden. So far so good, except that the student visa I had received …

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