Theses Doctoral

Breaking The Frames of the Past: Photography and Literature in Contemporary Argentina, Chile, and Peru

Wurst, Daniella

Breaking the Frames of the Past examines recent visual and literary work about the periods of historical violence in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. In my dissertation, I argue that these cultural productions can challenge the linear conception of historical time, and reveal the existent tensions and blind spots present within the cultural memory realm of each nation.
By examining the specificity of the materials and the aesthetic strategies present in the works, I hope to elucidate a necessary introspective turn in memory- what I have nominated metamemory, present in works that not only seek to interrogate official national paradigms, discourses of the past, productions of knowledge, and memorial imperatives, but also works that are profoundly aware of their condition as memory objects within a cultural memory realms.
Breaking the Frames of the Past is divided into two parts, Part One: Images, engages with memory at a broader collective level, and analyzes the different ways the photographic medium has been used to represent the past and craft a sense of national belonging. Part Two: Texts is concerned with subjective memory, and the overlap between childhood memories lived simultaneously within the frame of a period of historical violence. I discuss literary work written by those born during these periods of violence in order to see how from their subjective experience and through their works they can assert to the existing tensions within cultural memory paradigms. In examining novels by those who are “the Secondary Characters” of history, I argue that their use of metafictional strategies is able to counter the feeling of displacement and sense of belatedness that is present in postmemory works.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Montaldo, Graciela Raquel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 30, 2019