The Prison, the Mall, and the Archive (Space, Literature, and Visual Arts in Post-Dictatorship Culture)


ACLS Fellowship Program


Comparative Literature


This study explores the relationship between spatial reconstructions, temporality, and notions of democracy and freedom in recent Latin American history, as military dictatorships transitioned into neoliberal democracies. Analyzing symbolically important architectural sites, works of fiction, photographs, films, and theoretical texts, it explores configurations of global space in the transitional and post-dictatorship era, paying special attention to the process of “malling” and monumentalization undergone in these societies, since both played a key role in forging a transition ideology of market-based notions of democracy and freedom. In order to establish a counterpoint to the dominant market-base communal imagination, it articulates the relation between freedom and space as it is posed in literature, philosophy, and visual arts, setting up the idea of critical and creative “openings” that search for alternative notions of freedom.