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Archive History Nonfiction Theory

Lorenza Böttner: From Chilean Exceptionalism to Queer Inclusion

By Carl Fischer, 2014

Although critical efforts since the end of Chile’s dictatorship have successfully deployed narratives of dissident gender comportment to disrupt the country’s neoliberal discourse of economic exceptionalism, some queer narratives of the postdictatorship period that are not contingent on Chile’s dictatorial, violent past have been excluded from this debate. The story of Lorenza Böttner, a transgender Chilean performance artist profiled by Pedro Lemebel and Roberto Bolaño, aims to rectify this oversight. Lorenza’s life and work show how one person’s radical call for inclusion in the face of adversity, and refusal—in the vein of Anglo queer theory about “futurity”—to neatly fit into any historical, artistic, political, national, and economic narrative can exemplify how exceptionalism can be used against itself. Her unique liberation from these constricting categories offers a glimpse at what debates about both Anglo futurity and Latin American postdictatorship cultural criticism can “become.”

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