Author Archive

Zachary McKiernan

The meeting of two Marxists on the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup

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I do not know how many of the learned people who follow this forum know that 40 years ago today the United States government—and to point political fingers at political figures: President Richard Nixon, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and CIA Director Richard Helms—actively and illegally supported a bloody military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government in Chile.   Read More

Subjecting History: Launching a digital open review process

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magnifying-glassThe recent History@Work post postulating the importance of peer review and its possibilities in digital form challenges us to rethink more traditional methods of scholarly review. History@Work’s inaugural year demonstrates that the uptick in attention to public history’s products and projects in academic, international, and other circles is pushing and pulling us in new directions.  Read More

The utility of an international vision of public history

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globe puzzle On a recent conference call that connected public history practitioners from Bangladesh, Brazil, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and the U.S., one participant remarked on the utility of replicating historic site and museum programs from different geographic locations in others.  Another extolled the benefits of sharing ideas, methods, and experiences across the different regions of the world.  Read More

The happy historian (Part 2): Degrees of history

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Continued from Part I.

I recently watched a documentary on, of all things, happiness. The film, “Happy,” focused on the study of happiness (positive psychology) and what makes people happy and when, along with the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute or detract from happiness. Read More

Letters from Chile: A photo gallery

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In addition to the photos that have accompanied Zach McKiernan’s “Letters from Chile” series this spring, there have been many more that we didn’t post with the articles, but which we’re including here in a visual addendum to the series. All are by the author unless otherwise noted. Read More

Letters from Chile: A dead dictator's homage, a public history movement (Part 2)

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/continued from Part I

At the outset of this series, I proposed two seemingly simple questions in hopes of unpacking the complexity of sites of memory and how they “engage citizens in human rights issues” vis-à-vis the past.  What type of historic work is taking place?  Read More

Letters from Chile: A dead dictator's homage, a public history movement (Part 1)

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This past Sunday, June 10, the right-wing Corporation 11 de Septiembre held an homage to the dead dictator Augusto Pinochet under the auspices of a documentary screening at the iconic Teatro Caupolican in Santiago Centro. That day it was answered and challenged in sometimes violent ways by diverse sectors of society and weeks before when many of Santiago’s notably non-violent human rights organizations and sites of memory maneuvered to use legal and political recourse to prevent a ceremony that celebrated a leader infamous for overseeing an era of human rights violations. Read More

National Stadium, national memory: A personal letter

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This is a personal letter.  It is personal because I came to Chile to write and participate in the history of the museum project “National Stadium, National Memory,” whose aim is “the material establishment of national memory in respect… to the Concentration Camp… in 1973.”  Read More

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights: Making consensus matter?

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front entrance of museumSince my September arrival in Chile, the Museum of Memory and Human Rights has become a common ground for my historical work, with handfuls of visits to its Center of Documentation for conversations and conferences, and the permanent exhibit. Although not a physical or recovered site connected to human rights violations, it sits squarely in the memory landscape of Chile, a barely-born institution that has made waves since its 2010 inauguration under then-President Michele Bachalet. Read More

History on a shoestring at Nido 20: A memory site in its infancy

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In Chile between 1973 and 1990, according to the 2004 National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture (The Valech Report), 1,132 sites were utilized as centers of detention, torture, and extermination.  They ranged from hospitals and soccer stadiums to police precincts and private houses.  Read More