Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies



Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 435 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Barbara Sutton

Committee Members

Susan Gauss, Fernando I. Leiva


Chile, dance, dictatorship, disappeared, memory, women, Cueca (Dance), Dance, Women, Victims of state-sponsored terrorism

Subject Categories

Latin American History | Latin American Studies | Women's Studies


This dissertation is a multi-sited cultural-historical ethnography about the cueca sola, a dance that was created to denounce the disappearances of citizens during Chile's dictatorship in the 1970s. Some women with missing relatives, who belonged to the music group Conjunto Folclórico of the Association of the Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (AFDD), created a variation on the Chilean national dance (the cueca - traditionally a courtship dance between a man and a woman) which did not involve a male partner. Instead, they performed it alone. In so doing, these women, who were among the first to denounce the military's human rights abuses in public, were able to give symbolic presence to their absent loved ones. Performances of the cueca sola did not stop with the official end of the military regime in 1990. Remarkably, this local expression of protest developed a cultural afterlife outside of its initial context of mobilization and emerged as a widely recognized symbol of women's resistance to an oppressive regime. It is now a travelling memory practice that has been presented for commemorative purposes, both in and outside of Chile and both during and after the dictatorship, by members of the original group and by others. Additionally, references to the cueca sola have found their way into various cultural products (films, music, literature, theater).