The Body and Incorporeal Signifier of ‘Andrés Bello’, and the 2011 Chilean Student Movement

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Book Chapter

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Negotiating Space in Latin America


From his death in 1865, Andrés Bello’s body became an object of adoration. During the celebration of his centenary, a statue of Bello was revealed in the Plaza del Congreso. It was later relocated in front of the Casa Central of the University of Chile before finally being installed in its current location—in the institution’s interior patio. In 1898, Bello’s decomposed remains were transferred to a new monument crowned with a plastic form of Bello’s bust. During a commemorative event held in the cemetery, he was remembered, in part, for his educational services to Chile since his arrival in 1829. This chapter examines how and by whom ‘Bello’ and his body re-conceptualized during Chile’s nation-building process to solidify discourses of power both textually and spatially, in terms of education and, more specifically, with regards to the University. In accordance with more contemporary estimations of continual revalorizations and re-semanticizations of ‘Bello’ amidst the 2011 student protests for educational reform, this chapter also considers the recent re-appropriations of Bello’s body as a part of the rebellious responses to State-sponsored discourses.


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