SURF

Meghan Elisabeth Lowe

Community Empowerment in Dictatorship and Democracy: An Examination of Shantytwon Women in Santiago de Chile

My history thesis project will analyze the Santiago de Chile of 1964 to 2006 from the perspective of shantytown women, with an emphasis on the community institutions that offer them employment, personal development opportunities and/or activism networks. I will examine what poor women do within these institutions, why these opportunities are significant in their lives and what this civic participation represents in the greater context of womens rights in Chile. Additionally, I will examine the consequences of dictatorship and democracy on shantytown women, to determine whether poor women have greater or fewer rights under dictatorship than under democracy, in order to better understand the position of women in modern Chilean society.

Message to Sponsor

I am excited to return to Chile and to continue my studies in a neighborhood I worked in previously. However, I have never researched for a paper this long or this extensive, and my work in Chile must therefore be focused and meticulous. This summer is my opportunity to access the information not available in Berkeley, and the thought that I only have this one chance is intimidating. I am apprehensive about beginning my interviews and about analyzing the stories that women tell me, and to make sense of the connection between personal lives and national politics and trends. But I am up to the challenge and am looking forward to getting started.
  • Major: History
  • Mentor: Mark Healey, History