Alyssa Bowen

  • Fellowship year:2020-2021
  • University: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: International and Global
  • Dissertation Title: From Political Solidarity to Human Rights: The Transformation of Chile Solidarity Activism in Spain and Western Europe, 1973-1998
  • In September 1973, the overthrow of the world's first democratically elected Marxist President, Salvador Allende, by Chile's own military provoked massive international outrage. Half a world away, Spaniards, themselves under the dictatorial rule of General Francisco Franco, responded to the coup in Chile defiantly. Spanish activists engaged in flash protests; published anonymous op-eds comparing Spain's coup of 1936 with that of Chile's new Pinochet dictatorship; and bombed a local office of International Telephone and Telegraph, a multinational corporation rumored to have undermined the Allende government. Twenty-five years later, by the time of Pinochet's 1998 arrest for human rights violations at the orders of a Spanish judge, the radical anti-imperialist and anti-fascist discourses critical of the dictator had long since given way to criticisms of Pinochet's human rights violations.
    My research investigates the transformation of the Chile solidarity movement in Spain and the way it came to bear on the sociopolitical situation in Chile as a way to better understand the transnational normative power of human rights. It also gives insight into the relationships between the rise of human rights concerns among the global left and the transnational spread of Western-style liberal democracy across Southern and Eastern Europe and Central and South America from the 1970s to 1990s. By studying the rise of human rights concerns among transnational political elites, which largely replaced systemic socioeconomic critiques, my project also creates a better understanding of the maintenance of Chile's neoliberal structures, which are currently the target of some of the best attended protests in Chilean history.