Written in racialized bodies. Language, memory and (Post)colonial genealogies of femicide in Latin America

AutorKarina Bidaseca
controVersias y concurrencias latinoamericanas
issn 2219-1631 Vol.6 no. 9 abril 2014
coedición: Journal of latin american communication research
ISSN: 2237-1265
Karina Bidaseca
Dra. en Ciencias Sociales. CONICET/UBA y UNSAM
Since 1993, the term femicide has referred to a continuous wave of crimes com-
mitted to women due to gender or race, a structural feature of our societies. This
paper inscribes the question on the limits of the representation of the unutterable
in our local post-colonial genealogies. How could we write a feminist narrative sym-
bolically able to inscribe the losses within it, and question the world outside? This
shows that all eorts in favor of Politics of Memory must be founded in the recovery
of silenced First People languages, and in the cross-disciplinary junction of Art and
Social Sciences.
Key words: femicide, colonialism and post-colonialism, racialized bodies, langua-
ges, memories.
206 Karina bidaseca Written in racialized bodies. Language, memory and (Post)colonial genealogies of femicide in Latin America
Gender violences have inhabited our world forever, and I conrmed it at an early
stage in my life, when I read “The Bloody Countess” [
La condesa sangrienta
] (1968), by
the Argentinian writer Alejandra Pizarnik. Later on, as I examined her “Proper Name
Poem” [
Poema del nombre propio
], bearing the architecture gure of the tower of a
medieval castle ruled by the Countess Erzébeth Báthory, I found that the abjection of
violence within women victims of femicide is at the core of the falogocentric social
Alejandra, alejandra
Debajo estoy yo
Literature is to thank, denitely. With the help of the Aesthetic Theory and Post-
colonial Feminist Theory, I will attempt to parallel and analyze the languages of gen-
der violence as represented by two dialogic artistic expressions, literature and visual
art. Seduced by the alienating, “quite simply fascist” (Barthes, 1982:461) power of lan-
guage proclaimed by Afro-American writers such as Toni Morrison and Marlene Nou-
rbese Philip, and the First People’s poet Liliana Ancalao, and aiming at sublimating
the real violences, I will delve into excerpts from their work so as to elucidate the best
way to articulate a cross-disciplinary Memory Politic.
Thus, I became fond of Alma López’s art, a Chicana visual artist who works within
the artistic political borders. Her outstanding work will not be able to overthrow the
archaic power, but it can change the regime of visibility (Rancière,
The Emancipated
1 This paper is part of the Proyecto CONICET
“Violencias en las mujeres subalternas. Representaciones de
la desigualdad de género y la diferencia en las políticas culturales”
[Violences Against Subaltern Women:
Gender Inequality Representations and the Dierent Cultural Politics], headed by K. Bidaseca at Instituto
de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martín. A preliminary version of this research was
presented at the “Tercer Feminismo y Arte: Políticas de la memoria y genealogías (pos)coloniales de la vio-
lencia en el XXXI” - International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Washington DC, 2013;
in the Panel “Decolonial Feminisms: Art, Practice, and Scholarship Decolonial Feminisms: Art, Practice, and
Scholarship, coordinated by Sonia Alvarez (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Tara Daly (Holyoke Co-
llege) and Claudia J. De Lima Costa (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brasil). The author would like
to express her upmost gratitude to two exceptional women, Liliana Ancalao and Rita Segato, for sharing
her goals and dreams. This paper is dedicated to all women victims of femicide.

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