• “2 October is not forgotten”: Tlatelolco 1968 massacre and social memory frameworks

      Carpenter, Victoria (Peter Lang, 2019-05-17)
      The massacre of a student demonstration in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City, on 2 October 1968, has been the subject of many debates, studies and literary works, whose aim is to keep the event alive in the collective memory and to tell ‘the truth’ about what happened that night. But is this aim achieved by any Tlatelolco discourse? Probably not. Nor, as I argue, is it necessary. What, then, is the function of the Tlatelolco discourses? Is it a matter of the state and popular discourses being at loggerheads in their respective claims to accuracy and ‘truth’? Or is it something else, led not by the search for truth, but by the need for emotional reconciliation? This essay is an in-depth case study of the narratives of the massacre from the perspective of the theory of posthegemony and Maurice Halbwachs’ studies of social memory frameworks. By focusing in such detail on the way the massacre is represented in the contemporary media, the essay determines how memory builds on narratives that emerge in the response to political violence in the modern media society. The most successful narratives are built on the emotions released immediately when the affect wave ‘crests’, so that those emotions are the strongest and the most relevant to the moment of affect and change of habit.
    • A bridge between worlds: parallel universes and the observer in “The Celestial Plot” by Adolfo Bioy Casares

      Carpenter, Victoria; Halpern, Paul; University of Bedfordshire; University of the Sciences, Philadelphia (Brill Academic Publishers, 2019-09-24)
      Adolfo Bioy Casares’s story “The Celestial Plot” (1948) is among the best known examples of Latin American science fiction writing of the early twentieth century inspired by contemporary advances in quantum physics. Most readings of the story focus on the movements of its main protagonist, Captain Ireneo Morris, as he traverses realities while test-flying a plane. This approach overlooks the role of the story’s other protagonist, Dr. Carlos Servian, who, we argue, is the lynchpin upon which the multiple realities are dependent. We read the changes to Dr. Servian’s character from a variety of scientific and philosophical perspectives on parallel universes. By addressing variations in Servian’s character and language, and focusing on the disparate representations of the key objects in the story, we show how the story anticipates in some ways the Many Worlds notion which argues that reality bifurcates during quantum measurements, leading to near-identical copies of observers.
    • The Tlatelolco Massacre, Mexico 1968, and the emotional triangle of anger, grief and shame: discourses of truth(s)

      Carpenter, Victoria (University of Wales Press, 2018-08-01)
      In the aftermath of major violent events that affect many, we seek to know the ‘truth’ of what happened. Whatever ‘truth’ emerges relies heavily on the extent to which any text about a given event can stir our emotions – whether such texts are official sources or the ‘voice of the people’, we are more inclined to believe them if their words make us feel angry, sad or ashamed. If they fail to stir emotion, however, we will often discount them even when the reported information is the same. Victoria Carpenter analyses texts by the Mexican government, media and populace published after the Tlatelolco massacre of 2 October 1968, demonstrating that there is no strict division between their accounts of what happened and that, in fact, different sides in the conflict used similar and sometimes the same images and language to rouse emotions in the reader.
    • ‘Y el olor de la sangre manchaba el aire’: Tlatelolco 1521 and 1968 in José Emilio Pacheco’s ‘Lectura de los “Cantares Mexicanos”’

      Carpenter, Victoria; (Liverpool University Press, 2018-04-01)
      When Octavio Paz compared the Tlatelolco 1968 massacre to the conquest of the Aztec empire he created a foundation (and indeed, at times, the inspiration) for the view of the massacre as a symbol of a long-lasting internal conflict. This paper explores how the Tlatelolco 1968 poetry reflects (or appropriates) the 1521 texts. Are these texts used as extra metaphors of what happened in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas on 2 October, as links to the square’s infamous past, or is there a more enduring reason for the retelling of the story of the fall of Tenochtitlán? To answer these questions, I will examine four versions of José Emilio Pacheco’s poem ‘Lectura de los “Cantares Mexicanos”: Manuscrito de Tlatelolco (octubre 1968)’. The reading will be informed by the theory of habit (Bourdieu) and collective remembering and forgetting (Halbwachs and Bartlett).
    • ‘You want the truth? you can't handle the truth’: poetic representations of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre

      Carpenter, Victoria; York St John University (Taylor and Francis, 2015-07-03)
      The 1968 massacre of students demonstrating in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City, has been the subject of a corpus known as la literatura de Tlatelolco, whose aim is to keep the event alive in the collective memory and to provide a true account of the massacre. This article explores poetic representations of the massacre, and seeks to establish whether ‘the truth’ about the massacre is necessary to preserve the event in the collective memory.