Politics under Salvador Allende was a battle fought in the streets. Everyday attempts to “ganar la calle” allowed a wide range of urban residents to voice potent political opinions. Santiaguinos marched through the streets chanting slogans, seized public squares, and plastered city walls with graffiti, posters, and murals. Urban art might only last a few hours or a day before being torn down or painted over, but such activism allowed a wide range of city dwellers to participate in the national political arena. These popular political strategies were developed under democracy, only to be reimagined under the Pinochet dictatorship. Ephemeral Histories places urban conflict at the heart of Chilean history, exploring how marches and protests, posters and murals, documentary film and street photography, became the basis of a new form of political change in Latin America in the late twentieth century.
Camilo D. Trumper is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Latin American History at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
"Bold and original, built upon repeated acts of disciplinary transgression, Ephemeral Histories
is a remarkable work of historical recuperation. From graffiti and photography to architecture and urban planning, Trumper's range is astonishing. Bringing the physical space of Santiago--its streets and walls, its homes and neighborhoods--into sharp relief, Trumper reveals the array of forms, places, and everyday practices through which politics was made public in the turbulent eras of Allende and Pinochet. Rarely has the promise of interdisciplinarity been so vividly realized."— Raymond Craib, author of The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile
"With a sensitive eye for the ephemeral and the mundane, drawing from a diverse and neglected archive of public life, Trumper tells the story of a creative moment in Chilean and Latin American history, and explains the broad repression that followed it. His innovative approach to the public sphere offers new possibilities for a strongly conceptualized yet empirically rich history of politics and culture."— Pablo A. Piccato, Columbia University
"Trumper innovatively links familiar subjects to trailblazing and absorbing discussions of the UNCTAD building, photography, and posters during Salvador Allende’s “Chilean road to socialism,” providing great insight into the relationship between sociopolitical conflict, visual propellants and manifestations of discourse, and urban space. Ephemeral Histories is an original piece of scholarship that will push historians and other scholars to question some prevailing narratives on Chile during the late 1960s and early 1970s."— Patrick Barr-Melej, Ohio University