Events Research

April 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm

History Faculty Book Talk | Psychedelic Chile: Youth, Countercultre, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship, April 18

The History Department, in collaboration with the Contemporary History Institute and Latin American Studies, hosts the first installment of the History Faculty Book Talk series.

On Tuesday, April 18, at 3:30 p.m. in Baker Center 231,  Dr. Patrick Barr-Melej, Professor of History at Ohio University, will deliver a lecture based on his just published  Psychedelic Chill: Youth, Counterculture, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship (University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

About the Book

Psychedelic Chile illuminates modern Chilean history with an unprecedented chronicle and reassessment of the sixties and seventies. During a period of tremendous political and social strife that saw the election of a Marxist president followed by the terror of a military coup in 1973, a youth-driven, transnationally connected counterculture smashed onto the scene. Contributing to a surging historiography of the era’s Latin American counterculture, Barr-Melej draws on media and firsthand interviews in documenting the intertwining of youth and counterculture with discourses rooted in class and party politics. Focusing on “hippismo” and an esoteric movement called Poder Joven, Barr-Melej challenges a number of prevailing assumptions about culture, politics, and the Left under Salvador Allende’s “Chilean Road to Socialism.” While countercultural attitudes toward recreational drug use, gender roles and sexuality, rock music, and consumerism influenced many youths on the Left, the preponderance of leftist leaders shared a more conservative cultural sensibility. This exposed, Barr-Melej argues, a degree of intergenerational dissonance within leftist ranks. And while the allure of new and heterodox cultural values and practices among young people grew, an array of constituencies from the Left to the Right berated counterculture in national media, speeches, schools, and other settings. This public discourse of contempt ultimately contributed to the fierce repression of nonconformist youth culture following the coup.

About the Author

Barr-Melej is a Profesor in the History Department at Oho University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied Latin American history, European intellectual and political history, and Latin American literary culture. His publications include the books Psychedelic Chile: Youth, Counterculture, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship (2017, University of North Carolina Press) and Reforming Chile: Cultural Politics, Nationalism, and the Rise of the Middle Class (2001, University of North Carolina Press). Barr-Melej has held visiting professorships in the graduate history programs at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University and University of Concepción, and has delivered invited talks at conferences and universities around the world, including the Sorbonne, Oxford University, and Cambridge University. He also evaluates grant and fellowship applications for the Chilean government and is past president of the Southwestern Social Science Association, the oldest interdisciplinary social-science organization in the United States.

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