Literature Program

Friday, October 14, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.


University at Buffalo Humanities Institute and Hallwalls present

Camilo Trumper

Scholars at Hallwalls: "Ephemeral Histories: Politics, Public Space, & Public Art in Allende's Chile"

Camilo Trumper
Assistant Professor
American Studies

My book project is a cultural history of political change in 20th century Chile that critically examines the place of urban, visual and material culture in political conflict.  At core, it is a study of the emergence of alternative sites and forms of political debate.  I place urban mobilization at the center of Chilean political history, and argue that ephemeral urban actions and visual sources are critical to the telling of this story.  I propose a cross-disciplinary method of study that takes these tactics and the sources they produced seriously as part of a history of late 20th century political change.  I examine the many ways in which a range of groups historically excluded from the public sphere took advantage of post-war political openings and the embattled Allende regime's commitment to fluid political contest. 

Public Art in Allende's Chile Utilizing an original set of tactics, including land and factory seizures, marches and protests, and public forms of visual art, they claimed city streets and walls and transformed them into arenas of political debate, effectively creating the political public sphere rooted in public space.  My research finds that these newly politicized agents fashioned a novel form of political citizenship not through direct struggles for the state, but in their struggles over equal access to, and ownership of city spaces.  Thus, I propose a political history that recognizes urban practice, architecture and industrial design, and visual and material culture as indispensable sources for the study of political conflict and state making.