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His work will be included in a book focusing on people’s memories of the event

In October, Juan Rojo, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, will visit Mexico to conduct research for an upcoming publication focusing on the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, in which Mexican police and militia opened fire killing hundreds of student demonstrators in Mexico City. The shootings took place 10 days before opening ceremonies of the 1968 Summer Olympics.

The massacre was preceded by months of political unrest in the capital city, filled with rioting and protestor imprisonment. On this particular afternoon, demonstrators hoped to take advantage of the attention already being generated by the Olympics. Among student demands were the repeal of penal code articles sanctioning imprisonment of anyone who attended meetings of three or more people; the abolition of granaderos, the tactical police corps; and freedom of political prisoners.

Rojo’s research on this topic will be published in a book entitled “Sitios de Memoria (Sites of Memory),” which will include essays from 11 scholars from various fields of study. The uniting theme of all essays will be memory and post-memory following this traumatic event.

“My contribution to the publication will be centered around the 1989 film Rojo amanecer (Red Dawn) directed by Jorge Fons, which looks at the Tlatelolco massacre from the myopic viewpoint of a family residing adjacent to the plaza in which the massacre took place,” says Rojo. “This film draws attention to a narrative hole in the discourse of the nation by filling the historical gap created by the PRI (Mexico’s ruling party during the majority of the 20th century) following the events at Tlatelolco.”

Rojo has had an interest in memories related to Tlatelolco for many years, but it wasn’t until a series of recent research trips to Mexico, during which he conducted many interviews with young people, that he became interested in post-memory. He explains, “I found that Tlatelolco is a phantasmal construct remembered through others’ memories.”

Students will also benefit from Rojo’s research. “As with any research project I undertake, this will allow me to present new material in my upper level courses,” notes Rojo. “With this particular project, I will be working with scholars in various academic fields, which will help me present the material with a broader reach, thus making it more accessible to students of varying disciplines.”

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