Latin American Studies ETDs


Julia Youngs

Publication Date



During the dictatorships both the former DEOPs (Departamento de Ordem Política e Social) in São Paulo and the former ESMA (Escuela Mecánica de la Armada) in Buenos Aires functioned as clandestine detention centers. Today, the functions of both of these spaces could be broadly (and contentiously) described as memorials, museums, and spaces of public gathering. In 2009 the former DEOPs was inaugurated as the Memorial da Resistência, and in 2004 the former ESMA was inaugurated as the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos [ex-ESMA]. I say “contentiously” because the historical dialogues that framed the creation, use, and definition of the Memorial and the ex-ESMA continue to be highly divisive issue in both countries, and the concerns regarding physical development parallel the complicated and divergent paths towards transitional justice that Brazil and Argentina have taken. In this work I assert that the spatial transitions seen in Brazil and Argentina have been directly influenced by the powerful processes of political and economic restructuring that occurred in both nations in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s as reverberations of the economic effects of the dictatorships.

Project Sponsors

UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute, UNM Feminist Research Institute, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization, the Office of Graduate Studies




Memory, Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Dictatorship, Transitional Justice, Urbanism, Neoliberalism

Document Type


Degree Name

Latin American Studies

Second Degree Name

Community and Regional Planning

Level of Degree


Department Name

Latin American Studies

Second Department

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lehnen, Leila

Second Committee Member

Yu, Kristina

Third Committee Member