Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

Dr. Natalia Milanesio, University of Houston

Wednesday, September 23, 5:30 pm

Zoom — Meeting ID 95571104174 / Password 371008

The Talk:

Destapar means to take the lid off, uncover, expose. El destape was the biggest, most original, and most explosive cultural phenomenon after the fall of Argentina’s military dictatorship (1976-1983), one of the most brutal in Latin America. As a largescale mass media phenomenon, the destape was an avalanche of sexual images and narratives characterized by new and unparalleled levels of visual and discursive explicitness about sex and the body. This talk examines the destape as a commercial spectacle that emerged in the return to democracy as a powerful reaction to years of censorship, prohibition, and repression imposed by the dictatorship. An analysis of the destape elicits a range of compelling questions this talk will address: What were the meanings of sexual freedom in the Argentine post-authoritarian context? What was the relation between the sexualization of mainstream culture and the restoration of democracy and civil liberties? What were the main opposing forces to this process and why?


The Speaker:

Natalia Milanesio completed her undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario. She received her M.A. in history from New York University (2001) and her Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington (2009). She is currently a professor of Modern Latin American History at the University of Houston. Milanesio is the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture (University of New Mexico Press, 2013), also published in Spanish in Argentina in 2014, and Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019). Her first book received the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS) Thomas McGann Book Award, the LASA- Southern Cone Section Book Award, and a honorable mention by Argentina’s National Academy of History. Destape has received the 2020 Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS) Judy Ewell Book Award and a honorable mention by the 2020 Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) Alfred B. Thomas Book Award. She has published in leading academic journals like the Hispanic American Historical Review, Gender and History, the Journal of Women’s History, and the Journal of Social History.


Please direct questions to:

Dr. Edward Brudney (edward-brudney@utc.edu) or Dr. Emma McDonell (emma-mcdonell@utc.edu)

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