Barbara Sutton “Surviving State Terror: Women’s Testimonies of Repression and Resistance in Argentina”



October 25, 2018
12:30 pmto2:00 pm

Gerlinger Alumni Lounge
1468 University Street
UO campus
Free & open to the public

Surviving State Terror: Women’s Testimonies of Repression and Resistance in Argentina

Barbara Sutton, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
University at Albany, State University of New York

Barbara Sutton completed her PhD in sociology at the University of Oregon in 2004. This presentation is based on Sutton’s recently published book, Surviving State Terror. Based on oral testimonies of women who survived clandestine detention centers during a period of state terrorism in Argentina (1976–83), this book illuminates the gendered and embodied forms of trauma that women endured while also highlighting their historical and political agency.

Barbara Sutton / photo by Juana Ghersa

Through the lens of the body as a cross-cutting theme, the book examines gendered dimensions of experience during captivity and beyond. Sexual violence as a weapon of state terror is addressed, yet the book also shows more subtle dynamics of gender inscription through torture. Similarly, though the study attends to motherhood ideologies and the egregious treatment of pregnant women in captivity, it also explores women’s experiences beyond maternity. Public and scholarly discourse has tended to pay attention to the relatives of the people disappeared, particularly mothers; this book makes a needed contribution by bringing to the fore the stories of women who themselves were forcibly disappeared, but ultimately survived.

Surviving State Terror incorporates women survivors’ narratives of solidarity, resistance, and political organizing as well as their perspectives on social change, human rights, and democracy. The book draws on the urgent lessons that women survivors offer to a world that continues to grapple with atrocities. In the words of pioneering scholar of gender and militarization, Cynthia Enloe, the book “reveals how our listening to these women is crucial for sustainable democracy.” Distinguished sociologist Cecilia Menjívar adds that the “author masterfully reveals intersections of state terror and gender ideologies with clear relevance across space and time. A must read.”

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology; Center for the Study of Women in Society; Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies.

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