School Of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering,
"Unmaking Truth After Dictatorship: Science, Memory, and the Disappeared"
In 2006, the Chilean government announced the shocking news that the scientists at the Medical Legal Service had misidentified at least half of the remains exhumed from the largest anonymous gravesite of those killed by the Pinochet dictatorship. This talk connects this story of identification and error to the unique contours of Chile’s struggle for truth, justice, and reconciliation in the aftermath of the Pinochet dictatorship and the way scientists, families, and members of the justice system—lawyers and judges—experienced these struggles. In particular, I will explore why the misidentifications occurred and what led judges, scientists, and members of human rights organizations to question the correctness of the identifications. I use this case study to connect science and technology history to the history of Chile’s democratic transition during the 1990s and 2000s.