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After twenty-one years of military dictatorship, Brazil returned to democratic rule in 1985. Yet over the following two decades, the country largely ignored human rights crimes committed by state security agents, crimes that included the torture, murder, and disappearance of those who opposed the authoritarian regime.
In clear and engaging prose, Rebecca J. Atencio tells the story of the slow turn to memory in Brazil, a turn that has taken place in both politics and in cultural production. She shows how testimonial literature, telenovelas, literary novels, theatrical plays, and memorials have interacted with policies adopted by the Brazilian state, often in unexpected ways. Under the right circumstances, official and cultural forms of reckoning combine in Brazil to produce what Atencio calls cycles of cultural memory. Novel meanings of the past are forged, and new cultural works are inspired, thus creating the possibility for further turns in the cycle.
The first book to analyze Brazil's reckoning with dictatorship through both institutional and cultural means, Memory's Turn is a rich, informative exploration of the interplay between these different modes of memory reconstruction.
University of Wisconsin Press
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