Apr 272012
 

Lisa Baldez is an Associate Professor of Government and LALACS

Last Thursday the temperature hit 70 degrees so I decided to hold class outside. The class is Gender Politics in Latin America, a class jointly offered by the departments of Government, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. We focus on the historical dynamics that have given rise to powerful women’s movements, surprising changes in public policy, a high percentage of women in legislative office, and several female presidents in the region. Last Thursday the 18 of us sat on the lawn outside Baker-Berry Library to discuss Rita Arditti’s Searching for Life, a book about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an Argentine human rights organization. The Grandmothers mobilized to find their relatives who had “disappeared” at the hands of the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-1982. The Grandmothers work specifically to find children who were born to pregnant women in concentration camps and illegally adopted by families that supported the military regime. This is an intense and emotionally difficult topic to talk about, but also a hopeful one because the Grandmothers have located 87 of the estimated 500 children identified as missing. Being outside allowed everyone to relax and speak openly and honestly about their responses to the text. It was a sublime class.