Panel 4: Mapping Knowledge in Shifting Geographies (2016)


SALALM 61, Panel 4, May 11, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Moderator: Donna A. Canevari de Paredes, University of Saskatchewan
Rapporteur: Michael Scott, Georgetown University

Patricia Figueroa, Iberian and Latin American Collections, Brown University;

Taylor Leigh, PhD candidate, Hispanic Studies, Brown University, MA candidate, MLIS, University of Rhode Island, “Voices from La Movida: Indexing Spain’s Underground Magazines from the Transition Period

Patricia thought this was a good project for various reasons. She grew up in Madrid so it had a personal aspect to it for her,  it was also scholarly since this is a heavily studied period of recent Spanish history. She also wanted to work on it for a short amount of time, two years, so at least this preliminary stage could be completed.

It’s easy to think these magazines are frivolous, but they are documents of a time of renewed sense of freedom, in a particular Spanish way. The Transition period is not easy to pinpoint, but it was essentially from the mid-1970s until 1982, when the socialist government came to power. The active cultural and social scene in Madrid became known as La Movida. It was influenced by the punk and New Wave movements in New York, London, and Berlin.

There is a lack of primary resources from this time period. At Brown, there are about 80 journal titles, possibly the largest collection in the world. Patricia continued by discussing how she planned which titles to index and not. She also decided to produce the project in Spanish. The primary users of the index will likely be native Spanish-speakers, so that should be sufficient.

Patricia then showed examples of several magazines. They presented problems like lacking page numbers, no index, topics, etc. Hard to decide what to index, like a survey about “What is our favorite joke?” Did not include ads. Features like photographs and illustrations unrelated to the text presented decision-making challenges.

Taylor took over to discuss the difficulty of a controlled vocabulary. With so many different kinds of things in these magazines, marginalia, illustrations, and so on, it was not easy to come up with a terminology to capture all of this. They found that looking at art magazines indexing provided a good basis. Names and even the articles themselves also provided challenges; names could be simply initials, or the articles often did not even have titles. For tagging, Taylor said that he preferred to err on the side of too many tags, rather than not enough.

Patricia said that the magazines are not being digitized because of copyright at the moment, but some have expressed interest. It is difficult because some authors or editors may not even be alive anymore, so copyright becomes very complex. She also talked about controversial social issues, such as racist content. The project is scheduled to end later this summer.

Alexia Helena de Araujo Shellard, Programa de Pós-Graduação História Social da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Susan Bach Books from Brazil

Bárbara modernidade – apropriação de terras indígenas na fronteira de Brasil e Bolívia (1867-1928)

In her presentation, Alexia discussed modernity projects (telegraph, water channels, etc.) in the late 19th and early 20th century and their use of indigenous labor, and how this reflected “civilized” attitudes about nature.  Indigenous peoples in Brazil essentially replaced slave labor, which was finally abolished in 1888.

For part of her research, Alexia used the archives of the American Victor Berthold, who wrote a history of the telegraph and telephone in Brazil. A map from 1865 showed that the border with Bolivia still not totally defined, which was how the indigenous peoples saw it, and a few decades later, maps from the Comissão Rondon distinguish the two countries quite clearly, after it had been “civilized.” Alexia then showed photographs of indigenous peoples involved in the construction of the telegraph system at this time.

Other projects in the region included building channels and railways, both built with

built by indigenous peoples. These projects transformed the landscape, which went against the indigenous worldview of humankind’s relationship with nature. “Cultured” people said that a controlled landscape (through these projects) is the ideal one, since they reflect the goals of society. Later the construction companies brought in people from all over the world, not only as a source of cheap labor, but also reflecting cosmopolitan ideals of placing Brazil on the international stage. Indigenous people began to wear clothes, go to school, and join “civilization.”

Gonzalo Hernández Baptista, Lecturer, Dept. Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia, “El beneficio de las antologías en un contexto global de aprendizaje y estudio

Gonzalo presented on anthologies as a literary form, and how in recent years they have become the vanguard in world literature. Gonzalo’s research field focuses on transatlantic cultural exchanges between Iberia and Latin America, and “supranacional” anthologies have been a part of this in recent years. Traditionally, anthologies have principally been a means of presenting the literary canon, but now it is often a way to present new or non-canonical literatures. These anthologies fill in the ideological gaps that traditional anthologies have created.

Much of Gonzalo’s talk was about different recent anthologies. Examples included a Afro-Latin American drama anthology, anthologies of women’s writing, Granta’s anthologies of international writing, travel writing, literature about film, Israeli/Palestinian literature translated in Spanish, and an anthology of LGBT literature from Puerto Rico.

These anthologies are not only a an easy and compact way of reading new authors or variety of genres, but also a way of making genuine cultural connections that would been much more difficult to do otherwise.


Donna Canevari, U of Saskatchewan, for Patricia: Why use Excel?

Patricia: Not most complex system, but it can  be easily shared, especially since she and Taylor were often working in different locations. Simplicity was key.

Martha Mantilla, Pittsburgh: Will the database be available to all? Will articles be available via Interlibrary Loan?

Patricia: Yes, should be able to request loan. Patricia used HAPI as a model to approach how to work with the database for her project; its simplicity will make her database easy to use.

Comment from someone at UVA about how excellent Alexia’s project is.

Donna Canevari, for Gonzalo: How did you get into this topic?

Gonzalo: When you read these, you get multiple perspectives of

Patricia Figueroa, for Alexia: Brown has the papers of George Earl Church, who was an engineer and explorer in Latin America during the 19th century.

Alexia: I try to use these primary source archives in my research, not other Brazilian historians as much. Novels and visual materials also provide more depth and context.

Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez (I’m pretty sure), to Patricia: Will you broaden the geographic focus from Madrid to other Spanish cities?

Patricia: I want to, but I would like to finish it. I would like to collaborate with other institutions or individuals, it’s too hard to do for one or two individuals. Timeline is key.

Patricia, to Gonzalo: Anthologies, one of the formats of literature to get access to a wide variety of authors. It’s also a good way to discover new authors for collection development.

Gonzado Agreed, it's.good way to be exposed to a diverse group of writers.