The Expanding Photographic Archives of Feminist Movements in Chile

Name: Angeles Donoso Macaya
Department: Modern Languages
Project Theme: Feminisms, Latin American Visual Culture, Archival studies
Specific Topics: feminist historiography, archives, feminist alternative media

I used my Fellowship Leave to begin drafting my second book manuscript, tentatively called “The Expanding Photographic Archives of Feminist Movements in Chile.” Historically, feminist movements and feminist theory have given significant weight to the consideration of visuality in a broad sense—historical invisibility of “women,” political underrepresentation, overrepresentation of white women in media, and so on. Yet, what is rendered (in)visible when “women” are rescued from/in the archive?

What does the category “women” name and erase? Is it possible to articulate forms of feminist criticism that do not attend to the politics of identity and representation, to develop methodologies that do not reinforce patriarchal paradigms and discursive tropes? By adopting a feminist lens and a decolonial approach, in this book-length project I explore these questions and critically consider the counter-visuality displayed in alternative feminist media in Chile—these media are preserved in the Women and Gender Archive in Santiago, Chile, and in other minor archives—as well as the patriarchal, settler-colonial visuality of illustrated media consigned in official Chilean archives.

This interdisciplinary project interconnects the study of archival documentary images – photographs and film – with visual studies, feminist history and historiography, photography theory, art theory, and trans feminist theory.

*The photo in the magazine spread was taken by Chilean feminist photographer Kena Lorenzini, also member of Mujeres por la Vida and Asociación de Fotografos Independientes.