Event Title

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo: Motherhood as a Tool to Undermine the Patriarchy

Location

King Building 237

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 2:20 PM

Abstract

My research examines how the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina utilized the institution of motherhood as a political tool. The Mothers are a movement of women who organized during the brutal dictatorship of the 1970s and 80s in response to the kidnapping of their children by the military regime. This research relies on primary sources such as interviews and news footage, as well as numerous secondary sources. Most scholarship on this topic highlights how the Mothers subverted traditional gender roles by claiming political space historically reserved for men. My research analyzes precisely how the Mothers invoked their maternal rights to legitimize their public protest, and how in the process, the Mothers transformed the institution of motherhood as well as the political space in which they operated. This project ultimately illustrates how in the search for their missing children during the dictatorship, the Mothers utilized the institution of motherhood and the roles to which they had been confined to undermine the very patriarchal structures that had historically excluded them from political participation.

Keywords:

Argentina, dictatorship, motherhood, Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, women's roles, patriarchy

Notes

Session III, Panel 10 - Gendered | Labor
Moderator: Tamika Nunley, Assistant Professor of History

Major

History; Latin American Studies

Advisor(s)

Danielle Terrazas Williams, History
Annemarie Sammartino, History

Project Mentor(s)

Tamika Nunley, History

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Apr 27th, 1:00 PM Apr 27th, 2:20 PM

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo: Motherhood as a Tool to Undermine the Patriarchy

King Building 237

My research examines how the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina utilized the institution of motherhood as a political tool. The Mothers are a movement of women who organized during the brutal dictatorship of the 1970s and 80s in response to the kidnapping of their children by the military regime. This research relies on primary sources such as interviews and news footage, as well as numerous secondary sources. Most scholarship on this topic highlights how the Mothers subverted traditional gender roles by claiming political space historically reserved for men. My research analyzes precisely how the Mothers invoked their maternal rights to legitimize their public protest, and how in the process, the Mothers transformed the institution of motherhood as well as the political space in which they operated. This project ultimately illustrates how in the search for their missing children during the dictatorship, the Mothers utilized the institution of motherhood and the roles to which they had been confined to undermine the very patriarchal structures that had historically excluded them from political participation.