Archives in the Attic: Exile, Activism, and Memory in the Washington Committee for Human Rights in Argentina

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Spurred by the human rights violations committed by the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983), exiled Argentines in Washington, D.C. formed the Washington Committee for Human Rights in Argentina (WCHRA) to facilitate the transnational exchange of information between those under threat in Argentina and political actors in the United States. This thesis outlines the story of the WCHRA through the records they created - kept for nearly forty years in an attic - and oral interviews with former members. The collection consists of letters, testimonies, petitions, and notes that reflect the group’s extensive network and provide insight into how Argentine exile groups inserted themselves into the larger human rights movement. By critically examining how one small group of activists came together, I explore how archival records enhance, challenge, and reveal new insights into the politics of exile, activism, and memory, as seen through the lens of the records they kept.