Latin American Studies Conference: Democracy & Memory (Chicago, IL)

LASA Abstract
Forensic anthropology and documentary film: genocide, material evidence and the work of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF)

In the aftermath of the genocides in Argentina, Chile and Guatemala, filmmakers began documenting the work of forensic anthropologists, who were instrumental in the identification of remains often found in mass graves. The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF), an organization that from its inception functioned independently from the national government, promptly became responsible for carrying out the exhumations ordered by judges, working closely with the families of the disappeared. In this presentation, I will analyze a number of films from these three countries that document the delicate work of forensic anthropologists and delineate the social and political repercussions of exhuming victims of human rights abuses. These films are also valuable as material evidence, inasmuch as they they reveal the particulars of genocidal crimes. A few of the films under consideration will be: Granito (Yates, 2011), ¿Fernando ha vuelto a desaparecer? (Caiozzi, 2006), El último confín (Ratto 2006), Organizaciones Horizontales (Quattrini, 2003), Fernando ha vuelto (Caiozzi, 1998), and Following Antigone: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights Investigations (Doretti, Aho, 2005), a documentary produced by the EAAF.

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