Missives from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Renée Paquier, who teaches Administration of Justice, and Leigh Burrill, who teaches Women, Gender and Queer Studies, English, and Social Justice Studies, will attend “Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights in Contemporary Argentina” at CIEE’s host institution, FLACSO, in Buenos Aires, Argentina in June 2017. They will be posting about their experiences.IMG_1515

Video by Renée Paquier:

CIEE Seminar Video

Photos and narratives by Leigh Burrill:

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Day one in Buenos Aires for the Women, Sexuality, & Human Rights in Contemporary Argentina conference with Renée Paquier included an introduction to the city from our wonderful conference leader Karina and tour guide Diego, including visits to the cultural artists’ community in La Boca, and the gravesite of Eva “Evita” Perón at the very exclusive La Recoleta Cemetary. WOW!!

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Parque de la Memoria Monumento a las Victims del Terrorismo de Estado/monument to the victims of state terrorism. Argentinians are not afraid to state it like it is, and this monument is humbling… I’m so grateful for the experience. I look forward to sharing it with my students and colleagues.

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Renée Paquier at MALBA

Museo de Arte LatinoAmericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) — very queer and multicultural!

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Approaching La Boca, for groovy culture and arts.

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La Casa Rosada/The Pink House is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina

This gorgeous mausoleum for an Irish priest represents the large number of Irish immigrants who came to Argentina during the potato famine. But guess what? There are more Italian immigrants here than anything else – yes, even more than Spanish.

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This morning we visited a women’s health clinic and this afternoon had discussions about reproductive justice in Argentina, where abortion is illegal except in cases of rape and when the health of the mother is in danger; as we learned, broad definitions of “the mother’s health” mean that the law is often subverted.

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Museo Evita today, prefaced by outstanding lectures on feminist activism and the role of the alternative music scene of the 1960s in providing a forum for resisting hegemonic masculinity while still unfortunately maintaining the patriarchy… so much to take in, including meeting fabulous new people!#105

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Because what do you eat in Buenos Aires? “Jewish food” of course! Hola Jacoba Jewish Food Restaurant

Women in street art.

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Also visited the section of town famous for mosaic art, often compared to Barcelona/Gaudí, and spontaneously had an opportunity to speak with and go into artist Marino Santa Maria’s studio–wonderful!

Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo are the mothers of the disappeared who vanished during Argentina’s dictatorship government; these women have fearlessly marched every Thursday for 40 years (since 1977) to name and memorialize the desaparecidos (disappeared). Participating in the march today was difficult, moving, and inspiring.

Great queer club in Buenos Aires tonight!

The last full day of the conference began with fantastic María Riot, a self-described “puta feminista” 25-year-old sex worker who is oftentimes ostracized by the feminist community here in Argentina and across Latin America because of her sex-positive, progressive politics advocating for the rights of sex workers – decriminalization, human rights, and education rather than legalization and regulation, or continued criminalization and ostracization.

Today we also visited ESME, a former site of state-inflicted terrorism, torture, and detention, now a memorial and human rights center – painful but so very necessary. We remember.

Beautiful farewell dinner and tango show!

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Photos and narratives by Renée Paquier

Day 1: Arrival and City Tour

After sitting on the tarmac for two hours in SFO and then a 10 hour flight from Houston to Argentina, we finally arrived in Buenos Aíres on the morning of Friday, June 9th and met with our fabulous CIEE conference group:

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After taking a bus to our hotel to drop off our luggage, we went on a tour of Buenos Aíres. Our first stop, La Recolleta Cemetiery Most tourists visit this cemetary in order to view the mausoleum belonging to Eva Perón (aka Evita)

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Our next stop was to La Boca, a neighborhood which is located at the “mouth” of the Matanza-Riachuelo River.  Many tourists liked to visit La Boca in order to see the colourful houses and pedestrian street, the Caminito, where tango artists perform and tango-related memorabilia is sold. This area is also best known for being the home of world-renowned football club Buca Juniors.

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Day 2: Rock culture + politics and the Evita museum

We started our day with a very informative presentation, by Valeria Manzano and Karina Felitti, on rock culture and the involvement of youth in the political movement. One of the significant events that occurred during this time, to university students as well as to the faculty, was the “Night of long sticks” which occurred in July 1966. During this event, both faculty and students were arrested/taken into custody in order to represss any communistic movement. This was the first initiative that the government endorsed that touched young people’s lives.

The second initiative by the government was the morality campaign. For example, there was an increase in raids at night clubs, as well as cutting the hair of the men that were arrested. Men were forced to have shorter hair cuts. By 1967 hundreds of long-haired boys were attracted to rock music and protested against the morality rules that the government was trying to impose. Young people from different social backgrounds collaborated to create music, play jazz, rock, etc. (Bands during this time included Los Beatniks, Los Gatos, Manal.) A group of young men, Los Gatos, didn’t have musical backgrounds in a formal way but they created a song named La Balsa. By June 1967, Los Gatos, recorded La Balsa, which called for the youth to demand political change. ¨La Balsa” called for youth to drop out, build an imaginary raft, and “naufragar” (shipwreck). This song became very important for Argentina, because it was a rock song in Spanish, not in English, which went agains the culture in other Latin American counties whose youth preferred music in English.

Next we went to visit and have lunch at the Evita museum. According to the Evita museum website, “On July 26, 2002, fifty years to the day after Evita’s death, her grandniece, Cristina Alvarez Rodriguez, inaugurated the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires.” Museo Eva Peron Buenos Aires is about Eva “Evita” Perón, an icon whose historical importance spans two centuries.

The Evita Museum is housed in a mansion constructed for the Carabassa family during the first decade of the 20th century. Architect Estanislao Pirovano gave the mansion its formal image, which combines elements from both the Plateresque and Italian Renaissance styles. This beautiful building was declared a National Historical Monument in 1999.

The mansion that now houses the Evita Museum has a long history. In 1948, the Fundación Eva Perón bought, restored and designated the mansion as Hogar de Tránsito (Temporary Home) #2, a shelter for women and children with no resources.

On July 18, 1948, Evita inaugurated El Hogar with these words: “The Temporary Home shelters those in need and those who have no home… for as long as necessary until work and a home can be found….” Evita offered women and children “an open door, a place set for them at the table, a clean bed,” as well as “consolation and motivation, encouragement and hope, faith and self-confidence.”

The walls of this building once echoed with the strong voice of Evita and the joyful voices of the women and children who found refuge in it. Now it houses the Museo Evita, a living museum where people can come to know, understand and appreciate the life of the most important woman of Argentine history.

Located at 2988 Lafinur Street in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the Evita Museum forms part of the cultural tourist trail of the City of Buenos Aires (together with the Decorative Art Museum, the National Fine Arts Museum, the Palais de Glace and the Latin American Art Museum).”

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Day 3: Cabildo of Buenos Aires, walking by traditional Feria de San Telmo, Street Art Tour

Today we started our day with a walk down the traditional Feria de San Telmo, which is an antique market/street fair that takes place in the neighborhood (barrio) of San Telmo. This market place was created in 1970 by architect José María Peña and is composed of 270 stands. Located in the Plaza Feria de San Telmo, the feria is open every Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is visited by over 10,000 people each week.

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Next we had an amazing tour of Buenos Aíres street art by Matt Fox-Tucker.

It was extremely impressive to see how detailed and powerful this artwork was. To read more about Buenos Aíres street art, check our Matt’s book, Textura Dos.

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During our tour, we had the honor of meeting artist Marino Santa Maria who just happened to be home/in his artist studio as we were visiting some of the local art and tiles in his neighborhood.

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Day 4:

Today we started our day with an informative lecture on Women’s Movement and the politicization of maternity- The case of mothers of The Plaza de Mayo (maternity as a collective issue) by  Karina Felitti & Daniel Jones
Here are some notes from that presentation:
1973-1976 (3rd period of Peronism)
Perón signed the decree if you want birth control you need to have a prescription and all family planning was in hospitals. This was ok for the middle class but for the lower class families this as difficult and inaccessible. During this time the left and right wings began to clash and there was a lot of shootings in the streets. Therefore, the governments had more things to worry about than birth control.
March, 1974- Píldoras contra la familia argentina: A plan was established to reduce birth rates. At the time, 7 kids per household.
The pill was a tool of imperialism. Therefore, people were against the pill and all family planning institutions.
Testimonies of kids of parents who were revolutionaries: Recommended Films: Papa Ivan, Los rubios, La guardería (2016- De Virginia Croatto). Book: La casa de los conejos (Laura Alcoba), 76 de Felix Bruzconne.

Next we had a fun Queer Tango dance workshop by Mariana Docampo. 

Mariana founded the milonga 11 years ago because she wanted to create a space where she and her friends could freely dance with other women. She’s seen her fair share of raised eyebrows, but “queer tango is becoming more and more accepted”, she says. “It’s helping to open up society.”

The milonga, or dance hall, is on the first floor of a historic building in Buenos Aires’ bohemian San Telmo district. It’s advertised as a space “open to everyone” where patrons can “freely choose who to dance with and which role [leader or follower] to take on.” For more information on Queer Tango and to read an interview with Mariana, check out this article by The Independent.

Day 5:

Today we visited a local health clinic and had the opportunity to speak with the staff. If you are wondering what, “Ni una menos!” Is about, check click Here and check out this song as well: Ni Una Menos

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Day 6:

This afternoon we visited the Malba Museum.

The museum was hosting an exhibition of General Idea. “General Idea was a collective of three Canadian artists, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, who were active from 1967 to 1994. As pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art, their collaboration became a model for artist-initiated activities and continues to be a prominent influence on subsequent generations of artists.”

We also had the opportunity to see an original piece of artwork by Frida Kahlo as well!

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Day 7:

Today we visited Parque de la memoria/remembrance park.

“The Remembrance park (Spanish: Parque de la memoria) is a public space situated in front of the Río de la Plata estuary in the northern end of the Belgrano section of Buenos Aires. It is a memorial to the victims of the 1976–83 military regime, known as the National Reorganization Process, during the Dirty War, a period of unprecedented state-sponsored violence in Argentina.”

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Day 8:

 

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