Haunted Objects

Spectral Testimony in the Southern Cone Post-Dictatorship

By Megan Corbin

208 pp., 6 x 9, 19 b&w images, notes

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6429-3
    Published: March 2021
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6430-9
    Published: March 2021
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6280-8
    Published: March 2021

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Distributed for Editorial A Contracorriente

Examining testimonial production in Southern Cone Latin America (Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay), Haunted Objects analyzes how the changed relationship between the subject and the material world influenced the way survivors narrate the stories of their detentions in the wake of the political violence of the 1970s and 80s. It explores descriptions of objects within testimonial narratives and uses these descriptions to inform an analysis of how the objects that survived the violence--items recovered by archeologists from former detention centers, the personal belongings of disappeared peoples, the prison craftwork created by political prisoners during their detention, and the bodies of the second generation children of the disappeared, all join together in memory projects in the post-dictatorship to offer “spectral testimony” about the past.


"Corbin's fine reflective work in this book on dictatorial violence in the Southern Cone and the material witnessing function of the object, constitutes a turn in the field of Memory Studies. The author places the object-subject dialectic as the hermeneutical center of her discussion, opening a new understanding of the aesthetic and cultural status of testimony. The question about the identity of the object as a witness and its transcendence, the futurity contained in the power of experience that it carries and the horizon of meaning that it unfolds for those who apprehend it, allow her to propose the category of spectral testimonies as a departing point for a new material reading within the field of Hauntology Studies. A compelling and poignant contribution supported by a rigorous archival and interview work, this book is absolutely necessary for anyone interested in the ethical question of interrogating the past."--Fernando A. Blanco, Bucknell University