During Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship of 1976-1983, the Naval Mechanics School (ESMA) in Buenos Aires became a clandestine military detention center where around 5,000 victims were tortured, held, and/or killed. After years of debate over the space, the property was converted into a museum in 2004 called the Space for Memory and the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. This paper explores the creation of public and collective memory in Buenos Aires and the tensions and triumphs involved in founding a Space for Memory at ESMA in a city that is still divided over the conflict. By analyzing the author’s own experiences as a foreigner visiting ESMA, this study examines how public memory creates borrowed memory for outsiders, and why such memories are important in the history and future of Argentina.
Laura Lindsay, ’12
Majors: Spanish, English and Creative Writing
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar