El tiempo parece que vuela más rápido en diciembre por ser mes de celebraciones, regalos y reuniones con nuestros compañeros y seres queridos. Ojalá estén gozando las celebraciones plenamente y que tengan un momentito para leer este mensaje donde les anticipo un poco lo que será SALALM 2017. En el 2017, el formato del congreso de SALALM será un poco variado. Mantendremos los dos días de reuniones de trabajo, pero en el programa formal, vamos a agregar talleres simultaneamente con presentaciones de panel. Esperamos que este formato compartido les plazca tanto a los que nos gustan los paneles tradicionales como a los que nos gusta aprender de forma más activa y en grupo. Estos son los títulos de los talleres y las personas que los conducirán para que vayan animándose a inscribirse:
- “Building Open Source Webmaps Using Historic Maps” – Justin Joque, University of Michigan
- “From Presentation to Article: A Hands-on Academic Writing Workshop” – Alison Hicks, University of Colorado, Boulder
- “Inspired and Creative Collaborative Teaching with Primary Sources: From identification to Utilization” – Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, Princeton University; Paula A. Covington, Vanderbilt University; Christine Hernández, Tulane University; Jennifer Osorio, University of California, Los Angeles. Peter T. Johnson, SALALM Treasurer
- “Integrating the Visual: Tools for Teaching with Images, Objects, and Museums” – Ryan Lynch, University of California, Santa Barbara
- “Latin American Studies: Collection Development for Beginners” [New Member Workshop] – Adán Griego, Stanford University
- “Preserving Sound Recordings in Your Collections: From Format Identification to Digital Preservation” – Maya Lerman & Julia Kim, Library of Congress
- “RDA Workshop RDA Cataloging: Describing Moving Images, Audio Recordings, and Print Music” (two-part workshop) – John B. Wright, Brigham Young University
- “Translating the ACRL Framework into Your Library Instruction” – Jo Angela Oehrli & Barbara Alvarez, University of Michigan Library
Compartiremos la inscripción para los talleres cuando el programa haya sido finalizado en la primavera.
Por otra parte, la inscripción para participar en SALALM 2017 se abrirá el 30 de enero del 2017. Si es posible, por favor inscríbanse lo más pronto posible ya que el saber el número de asistentes sería de gran ayuda para Barbara Alvarez, nuestra Coordinadora de logística del congreso, y su equipo.
Los que me conocen saben que me gusta un poco la informalidad, así que ¡prepárense! … porque es probable que su humilde presidenta será el DJ en la recepción de los libreros. Hay varios motivos por esta novedad, pero el más importante es el hecho que queremos que el baile sea tan diverso como es SALALM – o sea que se representen todos los géneros desde salsa hasta soca hasta samba. Así que ayúdenos a que ésto se haga una realidad y si tienen pedidos especiales, vayan enviándoles desde ya, pues hasta para eso tenemos formulario: https://form.jotform.com/63215679464161 ¡El Jotform no es solo para inscribirse en el congreso, señores y señoras!
Por último, siendo éste mi último mensaje del 2016, en una época cuando no solamente estamos gozando de las fiestas pero también reflexionando sobre el año pasado y el futuro, quiero reconocer que este año ha sido difícil para algunos de nosotros como individuos y/o como nación(es). Esto ha sido debido a pérdidas, tragedias, y cambios trancendentales en nuestras vidas que a veces han venido repentinamente y a veces porque uno mismo decide que ya era hora para el cambio. A veces estos acontecimientos parecen abrumadores y uno no sabe qué hacer. Ojalá todos tengamos gente solidaria y seres queridos que nos acompañen en estos momentos; es más, a veces nos damos cuenta quienes son nuestros seres queridos durante estas épocas. Pero a veces nos toca aguantar los tiempos difíciles solos y se nos hace más difícil ver “la luz al fin del túnel.” Pero a la larga, creo que es a nosotros como individuos que nos toca poquito a poco ir cambiando nuestras vidas y el mundo. Así que cuando se desanimen o flaqueen, acuérdense de este pedazo del poema Desiderata de Max Ehrmann:
Sobre una sana disciplina,
sé benigno contigo mismo.
Tú eres una criatura del universo,
no menos que los árboles y las estrellas,
tienes derecho a existir,
y sea que te resulte claro o no,
indudablemente el universo marcha como debiera.
Por eso debes estar en paz con Dios,
cualquiera que sea tu idea de Él,
y sean cualesquiera tus trabajos y aspiraciones,
conserva la paz con tu alma
en la bulliciosa confusión de la vida.
Aún con todas sus farsas, penalidades y sueños fallidos,
el mundo es todavía hermoso.
Esfuérzate por ser feliz.*
De todo corazón, les deseo mucha paz, desarollo espiritual, y amor a ustedes, a sus seres queridos y al mundo en el 2017 y siempre. ¡Hechémosle ganas al 2017!
Here we are after our docent-led visit to the sunny Diego Rivera mural courtyard at the Detroit Institute of the Arts.
I had a lovely time during my site visit at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in mid-September. Since I arrived early, Barbara Alvarez took me to the Detroit Institute of the Arts where we visited the Diego Rivera mural courtyard. This visit was made more meaningful by the friendly docent who led a talk about the mural’s themes as well as historical and personal anecdotes about Rivera’s time in Detroit. The impromptu lecture nicely paralleled the intention of next year’s conference theme in that he used teaching to help connect us to art and its significance. During lunch at the museum café, we also had a chance to listen to live music! Barbara is planning a post-conference day trip to Detroit and, as this will most likely be one of your stops, I am certain those of you who sign up will have a great time.
Local Arrangements Team on the move!
Music follows me because once on campus, from my room at the Inn at the Michigan League, I had a moment of musical reverie courtesy of The Burton Memorial Tower and Carillon bells. (If you would like to make a request ahead of your stay, you can try tweeting @umich using the hashtag #CarillonRequest.) Barbara, Nerea, and I spent time visiting spaces for panels, workshops, and receptions, and the conversations that resulted helped us solidify conference details. I met some of the Hatcher Library administration and staff who are hosting us or who will be helping to organize the conference. I also met two librarians who will lead two of the workshops we have in store for you. I’m grateful that Barbara has put me in touch with local specialists to make these events possible. The local talent is such that I did not need to look far for someone to hit the high notes of intellectual inspiration at opening session. I’m very pleased to announce that Dr. Kenneth Mills (J. Frederick Hoffman Professor of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor) has accepted our invitation to be keynote speaker. He has several friends and admirers in SALALM so I know that you will all make him feel right at home among us.
One of the highlights of my trip came during down times when I spent time with Barbara and Nerea and their families. As a way to explain our farewells after dinner in the evenings, Nerea would say to her little girl, who was the life of our merry parties, “Daisy está regresando a casa a cargar sus baterías!” Así que nuevamente me despido a cargar mis baterías, esperando que ustedes sigan cargando las suyas para poco a poco estar a los 100% en mayo 2017!
P.D. Es octubre. Si aún no se han renovado como miembros de SALALM, por favor háganlo antes del 31 de octubre cuando se impone la multa de $12. Como dice nuestro atesorado tesorero, los pagos puntuales nos ayudan con la administración fluida de nuestro querido SALALM. ¡Manos a la obra!
The Democratic VP candidate gave a speech outside Hatcher library on the last day of my #salalm62 site visit.Barbara joked, “The world awaits President Domínguez and VP Elect Kaine!”
It has now been a few months since I’ve seen your smiling faces in Charlottesville. I would like to once again thank Paloma Celis-Carbajal, Miguel Valladares Llata, the Secretariat, and the entire SALALM 2016 team for all their hard work and for such an impressive experience. Attending our annual conference gives me a professional and spiritual lift. Hearing about all your projects is both inspiring and motivational. And the signature of the SALALM conference experience is the chance to spend time with such bright and warm colleagues. My personal SALALM afterglow tends to fade after a few weeks when my daily routine sets in. I am happy to report that this year, it feels like it is extending much longer because I can see that we are finding new ways to connect even while we are physically and temporally apart. Members are availing themselves of GoToMeeting, Skype, and the good old fashioned telephone to continue SALALM work after the last conference has wrapped up and leading up to the next one. The latest in this push for continuity are the Google Groups being created, most recently by the subcommittees for Marginalized Peoples and Ideas and Cataloging and Bibliographic Technology, respectively. Several of you also keep us current year-round via our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. As a trusted SALALM advisor recently noted to me, these efforts are promising in terms of the possibilities of sustaining our work and productivity year-round. My compliments to all of you for your steadfast dedication and for keeping the fire lit throughout the year. SALALM is all the stronger for it!
Looking ahead to next year’s conference, I would like to share that the theme has been finalized and translated into Spanish and Portuguese and is available for you to review and share. I would like to extend a special thanks to Ana Domínguez Ochoa, Luis González, and Hortensia Calvo for translating and editing the Spanish version and to Vera Araujo, Tim Thompson, and Ana DeAssis-Thompson for translating and editing our theme into Portuguese. Our panel and presentation submission form is now available, as well. Many thanks to Sarah Aponte and Tim Thompson for translating the form into Spanish and Portuguese. Please note that if you are proposing an individual paper rather than a panel, the panel-related fields will disappear (and vice-versa). Please also note that the paper and panel submission deadline falls on December 5, 2016 this time. The early deadline will allow us to accommodate the workshops and research-a-thons* to be featured at the conference. I hope that the integration of these new formats into our regular program will be a meaningful and worthwhile experience for all of you and look forward to receiving your paper and panel proposals.
My next message to you is scheduled for after my site visit with Barbara Álvarez, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Many of you will be reading my post in the midst of the busy fall semester. You will also have received the SALALM membership renewal and committee preference forms, which are sent out in September, from the Secretariat. Please keep this in mind as you schedule your professional annual renewals. Here’s to a successful fall semester!
* Thanks to Alison Hicks and Jesús Alonso-Regalado for helping me to add the term research-a-thon to my vocabulary.
Our annual meeting is very close to being completely programed! Keep registering and don’t forget to reserve your hotel room.
Some general highlights of what’s coming very soon:
1. The conference will start full steam in the morning of May 9th with the opening and the keynote lecture by Dr. Charles Hale, Director of LLILAS Benson, Latin American Studies and Collections at UT-Austin. This keynote will also be the kick start to the roundtable series.
2. This year, as part of the conference activities, we will have a series of roundtables (May 9-10) which emerged from a desire to explore the implications of globalization for academia, and, in particular, on Latin American studies. These roundtables have been designed to facilitate an open and integrative space in which we will all reflect, discuss, challenge, make recommendations and build collaborations for future directions in Latin American Studies. They also seek to actively involve participation from the core constituents of area studies teaching and learning, including representatives from the scholarly research, publishing, teaching, and librarianship communities.
The roundtable discussions will address the fact that the focus on globalization in higher education requires a deep and broad understanding of all cultures and societies, which translates to a greater demand for international resources. What is the impact on globalized campuses and how will this fact influence the support for area and international collections and services without forgetting the question of the privileged position of the Global North in Latin American and the Caribbean academic discourse?
The first week of April we will announce the fourteen presenters at these roundtables. For more details on the topics of the roundtables and the readings, go here: http://people.virginia.edu/~mav4n/salalm2016/roundtables/tables.html
I’m hoping that there will be as many SALALM colleagues as possible taking an active part at these discussions. So please, make travel arrangements to attend since day 1.
3. Our colleagues from the recently formed interest group Digital Scholarship in Latin America (DíScoLA) will be offering a 90-minute workshop, in conjunction with the Digital Scholars Lab at the University of Virginia. We will have more details the last week of March.
4. We have 15 presentation panels on a wide array of topics within this year’s main theme. All of which will take place between May 11 and May 13. I will be able to share details by the end of March.
A big shout out to all our colleagues that have been actively helping out, in many ways for this conference to happen, especially, Miguel Valladares, our host at the University of Virginia and Hortensia Calvo, our Executive Director.
SALALM President 2015-2016
Several months have passed since our 60th annual conference in Princeton in which our Past President Luis González and Fernando Rodríguez, chair of local arrangements, alongside Hortensia Calvo, our Executive Director organized a wonderful conference to celebrate this landmark anniversary. The academic program for SALALM LX showed, once more, the strong national and international ties that we have been building and the multifaceted work that we do as library specialists.
Our next conference has been taking shape over these months. The conference theme is out and, as the theme mentions, for 2016 there will be some slight changes in our program in order to accommodate the round tables that will take place during the first two days. Out of the total number of committee, subcommittee, interest, and affiliated group work meetings, thirteen will meet via GoToMeeting prior to our conference in May and will report at the Executive Committee meetings held during the conference. The remaining committees and interest groups will meet, as usual, during the conference days. I want to thank all committee chairs and other SALALM colleagues that have accepted this one-time-only situation in order to support and free up time to hold the round tables during the regular days of our conference.
It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Charles Hale, Director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at The University of Texas at Austin since 2009, has kindly accepted the invitation to be our keynote speaker. Dr. Hale’s article on “The Future of Latin American Studies” (Americas Quarterly, 2014) is one of the texts that inspired me for the SALALM conference theme. In addition, he will bring a unique perspective to our conference as the director of a Latin American Studies institute which includes the Benson Collection, one of the largest and most comprehensive library collections on the area. Among his achievements as director of LLILAS, he facilitated the merging of LLILAS and the Benson Collection. Dr. Hale’s critical insight on the transformation of area studies will be key to the discussions that will take place during the round tables.
I strongly believe that collaborative work and dialogue with others fosters a more creative environment. For that reason, I have put together a committee of SALALM colleagues that are helping me with the creation of these round tables: Luis González from Indiana University, Alison Hicks from University of Colorado-Boulder, and Miguel Valladares from the University of Virginia. We started working over a month ago. As soon as the preparation is done, we will upload all the details to the conference website.
The calls for submissions to our travel grant Enlace (deadline Feb. 13, 2016), our SALALM scholarship (deadline March 15, 2016), and the recently created Dan Hazen Fellowship (deadline Dec 15, 2015) have been updated in our website. The review committees are all looking forward to receiving many applications!
I would like to call your attention on the Dan Hazen Fellowship, which was created this fall to honor the memory of one of SALALM’s strongest leaders. Dan always stressed the importance of in-depth knowledge and continuous professional development of subject specialists in order to build stronger collections and provide the highest quality of service. With this in mind, the goal of this fellowship is to strengthen our junior, mid and senior status members through the award of partial financial support for either scholarly research or professional development. The Fellowship Review Committee will evaluate each submission and awards will be announced February 1, 2016. Thanks to the recently formed committee that has been working diligently to have this new fellowship in place this semester, especially to Peter Johnson, its chair.
Miguel Valladares, the chair of local arrangements, has been working very hard towards our next conference. He will soon be adding details for lodging, registration to the SALALM conference website, as well as other pertinent information related to the University of Virginia and Charlottesville.
As I mentioned in the email in which I shared the conference theme, SALALM is the main reason that I decided to become a librarian twelve years ago. Its collegiality is energizing and a pillar of my professional life. As I prepare this conference, you, my colleagues, confirm over and over that I made the best decision. My deepest appreciation to you all for your support!
I am glad to report that, within the first week of the announcement of the conference theme, I received the first proposals for presentations. Keep them coming!
Stay tuned for several announcements that will come in the following weeks.
Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the U.S. and safe and fulfilling travels for those of you attending the Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara!
SALALM is very appreciative of Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), for his congratulatory letter on the observance of the 60th anniversary of the founding of SALALM. Support from the OAS was critical in SALALM’s formative period. From 1956 through 1973, SALALM’s Executive Secretariat was unofficially based within the OAS’ Library Development Program, led by the visionary Marietta Daniels Shepard. The full text of Ambassador Ramdin’s letter can be accessed here.
I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Beverly Wharton-Lake, Director of the Columbus Memorial Library at the OAS, for securing the letter from Ambassador Ramdin. SALALM appreciates the consideration and thoughtfulness of both the Columbus Memorial Library and the Organization of American States on the observance of this milestone in the history of our organization.
Submitted by Luis A. González
President, SALALM (2014-2015)
15 July 2015
Prezados colegas/Dear Colleagues/Estimados colegas,
I would like to share with you very stimulating news about the Enlace Travel Award Program.
Over the years, Enlace has become one of the flagship programs of SALALM as an area studies library organization. Enlace promotes professional networking between librarians from North American institutions and librarian colleagues who work in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Enlace becarios receive a grant to attend the SALALM annual conferences. In return, they commit to present a paper on a panel session at the conference. Altogether, 81 librarians and information professionals from as many as 23 countries from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain have been direct beneficiaries of the Enlace Program since its creation in 1986. Many Enlace Awardees have led successful careers in librarianship, making invaluable contributions to the profession. I am thinking of colleagues such as Helen Ladrón de Guevara (1988), Rosa María Fernández de Zamora (1992), and Jesús Lau (1996), just to mention three prominent Mexican librarians with whom I have collaborated in recent years. A list of Enlace becarios from 1986 to 2014 is available at http://salalm.org/about/scholarships-and-awards/enlace/past-enlace-fellows/.
I am very happy to report that the three Latin American librarians who were selected as grant recipients by the Enlace Committee this year have confirmed participation in the upcoming SALALM LX Conference at Princeton University. We will have the opportunity to visit with these talented Enlace becarios during the meeting, but I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about their professional backgrounds and the topics of their presentations.
Susana Arias Arévalo is the Head of the Periodicals Division at Biblioteca Lo Contador at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago. She is also responsible for managing the Special and Rare Books Collection at her institution. In her presentation “El futuro del pasado: Proyecto Fondo Antiguo de la Universidad Católica de Chile,” Susana will report on an interdisciplinary initiative to enhance the cataloging records of a historically significant collection of rare books dating back to the 16th century held at the Universidad Católica.
Janete Saldanha Bach Estevão is a reference librarian in the Sistema de Bibliotecas (SiBi) at the Universidade Federal do Paraná in Curitiba. She will be speaking about digital repositories created by both Brazil’s Ministry of Education and her own institution. These initiatives have been instrumental in promoting not only greater access to electronic scholarly content, but more importantly, they have served to increase international visibility of Brazilian scholarship. Janete’s presentation is entitled “From Public Policies to Academic Initiatives towards Electronic Resources Access in Brazil.”
Adriana Ríos Parra is the Coordinator of Proyecto FLACSO Andes, based in Quito. In her presentation “Indicadores académicos de la Biblioteca Digital FLACSO Andes,” Adriana reviews the achievements of the open access portal originally launched in 2008. Based on a model of inter-institutional cooperation, Proyecto FLACSO Andes has established itself as a leading open access initiative in the region.
SALALM allocates $1,000 to support the Enlace Program each year. The bulk of the funding, however, comes from the now fabled raffle prize ticket sales at the SALALM annual meetings and the generous stream of donations from members. In the last fiscal year, the sale of raffle prize tickets generated $1,784 and individual member donations accounted for $726 of the Enlace budget. Every year at the SALALM meeting, we see the dedicated Enlace Committee members busily selling tickets for the raffle. The prizes—it must be also acknowledged—are generously donated by SALALM members. The sale of tickets and the actual drawing ceremony that takes place during the highly anticipated Libreros’ Reception event are both firmly entrenched as part of SALALM’s lore and professional identity.
This year the Enlace Program budget received a significant boost from a donation of $1,500 made by Susanne Bach Books from Brazil. This generous gift allowed the Enlace Committee to select three Latin American librarians to attend the SALALM LX Conference. In explaining Susanne Bach’s motivation to make this gift, Vera Araujo pointed not only to her business partners’ desire to support Enlace on the year that the SALALM annual conference is dedicated to Brazil, but also their appreciation for an organization that quoting Vera’s own words “has been so supportive of our lives’ work and has also helped to disseminate Brazilian and Latin American culture abroad.”
Based in Rio de Janeiro, Susanne Bach Books from Brazil is one of the oldest libreros from Latin America that specialize in furnishing library materials to North American and European institutions. The firm’s founder, Dr. Susanne Eisenberg Bach (1909-1997), held a doctorate in Romance Philology from the University of Munich. Fleeing Nazi persecution of German Jews, she resettled in Paris in 1933 where she worked for well-established publishers and antiquarian booksellers such as Librarie Droz and Julius Hess. For a time, she also worked for prominent Spanish philologist Ramón Menéndez Pidal who had taken temporary exile in France during the Spanish Civil War. In 1941, Dr. Bach migrated to Rio, adopting Brazil as her country for the next four decades. Life must have been challenging for an impoverished, single mother in a strange country. But drawing on her subject knowledge and book trade know-how, she was well-positioned to launch the successful book-exporting business that we know today. The biographical sketches available on the websites of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (https://www.ilab.org/eng/booksellers_main_page/Booksellers_in_Exile/Susan_Bach.html) and the Casa Stefan Zweig (http://www.casastefanzweig.org/sec_canto_view.php?id=52) offer a glimpse into Susanne Bach’s fascinating life and career as one of SALALM’s pioneer libreros. Dr. Bach herself provides a personal reflection on her own origins as a specialized book dealer in a short piece published in the proceedings of the SALALM XXXI Conference, which was hosted by the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin in 1986.
Susanne Bach retired from her company moving back to Germany in 1983. After her retirement, her long-time partner, Patrick Levy, took the helm of the company for the next few years. Vera Araujo joined the firm in the early 1980s, after her long sojourn working and studying in the United States. By 1986, Patrick and Vera had become business partners. In 2007, Sandra Soares entered into the firm as full partner in recognition of her many years of dependable service to the firm.
We are more than grateful to Patrick, Vera, and Sandra at Susanne Bach Books from Brazil for their generous gift to the Enlace Travel Award Program. Supporting SALALM’s flagship program further strengthens one of our core missions—promoting the exchange of ideas, training, and expertise among librarians and information specialists working throughout the Americas.
In closing, I would also like to recognize the dedication and professionalism of past and current members of the Enlace Travel Award Committee. The strength of the Enlace Program is also due to the hard work of many colleagues who have served on the committee. I am particularly grateful to current committee co-chairs Teresa Chapa, Betsaida Reyes, and Daniel Schoorl for their able stewardship of this key program in our organization.
Saudações cordiais/Best regards/Saludos cordiales,
Luis A. González
President, SALALM (2014-2015)
5 June 2015
Dear SALALM Members,
I am very pleased to announce the pre-final program of the SALALM LX Conference to be hosted by Princeton University on June 13-17, 2015.
In the best tradition of SALALM, the program of the 60th-anniversary meeting will provide ample opportunities for professional and personal advancement. Presentations by librarians, libreros, faculty members, and graduate students from Latin American, European, and North American institutions will grace the 26 sessions of the conference program. The 24 panels and the two round table sessions cover a wide range of relevant and timely topics in the fields of academic and Latin American Studies librarianship and research.
Furthermore, participants of SALALM LX will have the unique opportunity to hear the keynote addresses by two prominent figures in Brazilian academic circles: Lilia Moritz Schwarcz and Abel L. Packer. A distinguished anthropologist, Schwarcz is affiliated with the Universidade de São Paulo and the Global Scholars Program at Princeton University. The title of her presentation is “The Long Journey of the Portuguese Royal Library: Books, Freedom, and the Symbolic Power of Libraries.” As the founder and director of the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), the influential open access academic journal initiative, Abel L. Packer will deliver a keynote entitled “Latin American Journals in the Humanities and the Social Sciences: A Common Affirmation through Open Access.”
As you browse the attached pre-final conference program, please consider serving as a moderator or rapporteur for one of the sessions. To sign up, please send your panel preferences (1, 2, etc) directly to me, Luis A. González at email@example.com, no later than May 19, 2015.
I look forward to seeing all of you!
Luis A. González
President, SALALM (2014-2015)
Dear SALALM Colleagues,
We are very pleased to announce that registration for the LX Annual Conference of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) is now open. Brazil has been selected as the core theme of the conference program: “Brazil in the World, the World in Brazil: Research Trends and Library Resources.” Hosted by Princeton University, the conference will take place from June 13 to 17, 2015.
Information about conference registration, hotel reservations and a preliminary schedule of the SALALM LX Conference can be found here.
Luis A. González
President, SALALM (2014-2015)
11 February 2015
Throughout 2014, many institutions in Brazil and the United States held conferences and other academic events in observance of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 coup in Brazil. In 1964, the Brazilian military overthrew the democratic government of João Goulart. For the next 21 years, Brazil was ruled under a right-wing military dictatorship that caused hundreds of deaths, extensive human rights violations, and the curtailment of political and civil liberties through direct repression and censorship. Brazil was the first in a wave of military takeovers that engulfed Southern Cone countries, leading to the institutionalization of terror as state policy.
Beyond the tragic loss of human lives and political freedoms, the onset of the military regime had profound consequences in the realms of education, cultural production, and information access rights in Brazil. Informers and purges at universities were widespread. Many scholars and intellectuals were forced into retirement and banned from teaching in Brazilian universities. Prominent historians Emília Viotti da Costa and Maria Yedda Leite Linhares and social scientists Florestan Fernandes, Otávio Ianni, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso experienced forced retirement and exile firsthand. Mass media and the entertainment industry were closely policed by the regime’s censorship agency. Due to their ability to reach mass audiences, newspapers and news broadcasts were prime targets of censorship. Film, popular music, and the performing arts were directly submitted to government control as well.
Censorial interventions in the book publishing sector were not as overt as in the entertainment and news media, but the effects were no less damaging. A recent study by Sandra Reimão, Communications Professor at the University of São Paulo, found that hundreds of books were screened by government officials in the years from 1970 when systematic censorship began to 1988 when it finally ended. Out of 492 titles, 313 books (or 64 percent) were officially banned; the remaining 179 were cleared by censors. Although many political texts were censored, most of the banned materials were pornography and erotic fiction imprints. Pornographic content was the dominant criterion for banning books, as authorities were obsessed with content considered harmful to public morality. Additionally, literary works that leveled criticism against the regime were also targeted. One of the most emblematic novels banned and confiscated by the regime was Zero by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, a prominent voice in contemporary Brazilian letters. Reimão’s book, Repressão e resistência: censura a livros na ditadura militar [2011; Repression and Resistance: Book Censorship during the Military Dictatorship], is based on the extant records of the Department of Public Entertainment Censorship, the central censorship agency. These records are currently housed in the National Archives in Brasília.
Censorship also affected research and academic publishing in Brazil. Writing in the late 1970s, our colleague Peter T. Johnson argued that official censorship created an environment that restricted the choice of research topics by Brazilian historians and social scientists. As the author describes, labor, student activism, and social movements were “off-limit topics,” as were analyses of contemporary issues especially if they were critical of the policies of the military regime then in place. Likewise, the publishing marketplace placed constraints on academic presses. Reliance on government subsidies led some publishers to avoid sensitive themes, effectively adopting self-censorship as a strategy in their publishing programs. Censorship had the overall effect of eroding the practice of public debate about problems in Brazilian society. Peter’s piece “Academic Press Censorship under Military and Civilian Regimes” appeared in Luso-Brazilian Review in 1978.
In 2012, the Brazilian government established the Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV, or National Truth Commission) to investigate the human rights abuses committed in the country between 1946 and 1988, with particular attention to post-1964 events. The creation of the CNV represented a milestone in the field of human rights advocacy in Brazil. Several Latin American countries that either experienced military dictatorships, such as Argentina and Chile, or were affected by civil strife, as in Guatemala and Perú, promptly created truth commissions as a form of transitional justice as they tried to restore democratic institutions. Brazil did not follow this path—until recently. A few days ago, the CNV officially submitted its report on the killings, disappearances and cases of torture perpetrated during the dictatorship to current President Dilma Rousseff. Incidentally, the report was released on Human Rights Day, a United Nations observance that takes place every year on December 10th. While the official report provides solid evidence of extensive and systematic use of torture by the military regime, the lack of access to key records from the armed forces hampered the investigation into the fate of many of the disappeared victims. The complete report can be accessed on the CNV’s website.
Access to information is paramount to fully understanding this troubled chapter of Brazil’s recent past. For years, LAMP—an organization that has long-standing ties to SALALM—has been instrumental in the preservation of an important piece of the historical memory of this era. Formerly known as the Latin American Microform Project, LAMP is a cooperative initiative seeking to preserve and promote better access to primary materials from Latin America. Since its creation in 1975, LAMP has been managed by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). In 2011, LAMP and CRL entered into a partnership with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in São Paulo supporting the digitization of the Brasil: Nunca Mais collection. Available in microfilm, this unique collection consists of 707 court cases involving civilians tried by the Military Supreme Court during the years from 1964 to 1979.
The Military Supreme Court served as the appellate court in the special military justice system set up by the dictatorship to try civilians accused of violating national security laws in Brazil. These offenses ranged from relatively innocuous charges of writing anti-government articles in the press to the more grave accusation of involvement with subversive organizations. The military court system was the subject of a stimulating study by political scientist Anthony W. Pereira. In Political (In)justice: Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina (2005), Pereira states that the political trials served to apply a veneer of legality to the regime’s repression. It was important for the regime to show that civilian opponents were taken to court for their crimes against national security.
Secretly copied by lawyers and human rights advocates, the military court records show human rights violations by the military government in Brazil. These records were the cornerstone of an unprecedented report coordinated by the Archbishop of São Paulo documenting the systematic practice of torture by the military regime. An abridged version of the report, including excerpts of the court cases, appeared in the best-selling volume Brasil: Nunca Mais, published by Editora Vozes in 1985. The English-language edition, Torture in Brazil, came out in 1986.
Shortly afterward, in 1987, Librarian Emerita Laura Gutérrez-Witt, serving as LAMP chair, negotiated for the transfer of the complete microfilm copy of the court records from the Brasil: Nunca Mais project to CRL. Significantly, CRL agreed to store the 543-reel microfilm set and to improve access to the records it also created a comprehensive finding aid for the complete collection. In 2011, with funding from LAMP, duplicates of the original film were made and sent to Brazil for digitization. The open-access portal Brasil: Nunca Mais digit@l was officially launched in 2013. It goes without saying that LAMP and CRL—and SALALM by extension—have been good stewards of this invaluable record of Brazilian history.
You can learn more about the intriguing history of the Brasil: Nunca Mais collection in the Winter 2012 issue of CRL’s Focus. The issue was dedicated to human rights documentation projects managed by the Center for Research Libraries.
I would like to take the opportunity to remind SALALM and non-SALALM members of some approaching deadlines. The deadline for conference proposal submissions is January 30, 2015. Preferably, please use the online form for submitting your proposals. Please note that information regarding hotel reservations will be coming out in early February 2015. There is also time to apply for the following travel award programs: the ENLACE Travel Awards and the Presidential Travel Fellowship.
As the year draws to a close, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and a very productive new year.
Boas Festas – Felices Pascuas – Happy Holidays,
Luis A. González
President, SALALM (2014-2015)
13 December 2014