Event: Sewing Resistance

Between October 10 and May 31, the University of Aberdeen Museums and Special Collections will be hosting an exhibition of Chilean arpilleras, stitched by students on the Spanish and Latin American Studies program at Aberdeen.

During the Women Making History: Mexico and Chile in the Twentieth Century class, the students were guided by Professor Patience Schell (LLMVC) as they made their research-based arpillera, a Chilean fabric mural, while writing a commentary about the process of creating the dolls.

The mural connects with topics that we will be discussing in Weeks 5 and 11, when we reflect on cultural resistance and gender, and the arpilleras provide a significant example of the juxtaposition of art and politics:

Arpilleras emerged as an art form during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and usually depict scenes of everyday life, especially for those who were against the dictatorship or perceived to be leftist.

Professor Patience Schell, ‘Research-Based Arpillera‘, 2019.

The exhibition will be held on the ground floor of the Duncan Rice Library; to learn more about the arpilleras, check out Susan Traini‘s 2013 article, ‘Unforgotten to the unforgettable: How Arpilleras contributed to Chilean history informing everyday occupations and social change’; Jhonny Alexander Pacheco Ballén‘s 2018 piece, ‘Las arpilleras de shuba: bordado de arpilleras para tejer la memoria colectiva sobre los espacios’, and Jacqueline Adams‘ 2013 book, Art Against Dictatorship : Making and Exporting Arpilleras Under Pinochet.

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Gender and Drone Warfare

One for the bookshelf, Gender and Drone Warfare: A Hauntological Perspective by Lindsay C. Clark (2019), draws on interviews with British reaper drone crews to gauge how killing with drones complicates how we understand masculinity and femininity during wars.

In particular, her work considers how,

As their role does not include physical risk, drone crews have been critiqued for failing to meet the masculine requirements necessary to be considered ‘warriors’ and have been derided for feminising war. However, this book argues that drone warfare, and the experiences of the crews, exceeds the traditional masculine/feminine binary and suggests a new approach to explore this issue.

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For more on gender and drone warfare, Martine Heijthuyzen’s ‘Gendering Drone Warfare‘ provides a quick read at the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP), and Cerelia Athanassiou’s 2012 article, ”Gutsy’ Decisions and Passive Processes: The Warrior Decision-Maker after the Global War on Terror’ looks at the context of masculinity and the re-emergence of the GWOT ‘war machine’.