Department or Program



This project focuses on transitional justice processes that utilize testimony and truth-telling to heal trauma and negative emotions after violent state conflict. Using Chile as a case study, I compare state-sponsored Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) to unofficial testimonial methods, such as women’s embroidery and tapestry groups. I find that TRCs further marginalize women by excluding their subjective experiences of suffering from official history, and by preventing cathartic reconciliation. I argue that Las Arpilleristas and Colectiva Bordadoras por la Memoria represent complementary transitional justice methods to TRCs as they transform emotional pain into political solutions through testimonial artwork. The collectives accomplish three objectives where TRCs fall short: First, they more effectively heal emotional wounds through feminine group solidarity and support. Second, they provide women an outlet for illustrating subjective experiences unaddressed by the state. Lastly, the collectives productively and strategically politicize mourning for the dead. Through centralizing trauma and healing as a crucial goal for transitioning states, my project challenges normative conceptions of how to establish truth and who we consider to be political actors in charge. I conclude that transitional justice should account for feminine healing strategies to provide a holistic model for how gender sensitive truth-telling forums should function.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Longaker, Jacob

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf, 10 jpg

Open Access

Available to all.