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Brenda Elsey

Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar

Assistant Professor
Hofstra University

Photo: Brenda  Elsey

Dr. Brenda Elsey received a Greenleaf Visiting Library Award in Fall 2011 to support research on Resistiré: Chile and Transnational Solidarity, 1889-1987.  At the time of the award, she was an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of Women's Studies and Co-Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Hofstra University in New York.

Her research interests include the history of politics and popular culture in 20th century Latin America, social theory, and gender studies. 

Title of Research : Resistiré: Chile and Transnational Solidarity, 1889-1987

While at UNM, Elsey drew upon library archives to examine the period of September 11, 1973, when the Chilean armed forces carried out a coup against the democratically-elected government of Socialist president Salvador Allende. In the months that followed the military regime, led by General Augusto Pinochet, launched a massive campaign of repression against supporters of Allende's government, including unionists, student leaders, and leftist political party members. A transnational solidarity movement emerged from the relationship between exile communities, international organizations, and opposition groups in Chile. By the 1980s, many of these groups transitioned to human rights organizations. Through its embrace of human rights, the solidarity movement challenged Cold War polarities. An analysis of the relationship between popular culture and the solidarity movement sheds light on the nature of the uneven shift from a Marxist, anti-imperialist agenda to a broader human rights platform. This project examines the solidarity movement through cultural practices, including needlework, football, music, and beauty pageants. The Southwest Historical Center's collection contains valuable resources related to U.S. solidarity with Latin America. This project has made particular use of the Kay Cole papers and Slick poster collection. Kay Cole's leadership in the Chilean solidarity brought together Latin American, Indian rights', feminist, and Chicano movements.