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The Laboratory of Oral History and Images (LABHOI), a division of the history department of the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil, celebrated thirty years of work in 2012. Since its creation in 1982, the LABHOI has been developing projects on the history of memory of different Brazilian communities, based on both oral and visual sources and the relationship between them. Despite its academic origin, the main purpose of the LABHOI’s projects is to engage communities in the production of their own history through visual and oral records. One of the results of this work has been the organization of a digital database accessible to the public at large. The LABHOI has become an important source for theoretical and methodological debates about the uses of visual representations of the past, and its members have published books and articles in this field. Recently, the LABHOI turned to the production of experimental videos based on the idea of the “videographic writing” of history, a modality of historical text that can perfectly mix sounds and images of recollections.

Article

The Conflict Textiles website is a digital resource that allows users to learn more about how individuals who have experienced or been impacted by political violence have used textiles to respond to and recount their experiences. Some of the textiles on the website were made in response to the wars and conflicts in South America in the 1970s and 1980s (including the Dirty War in Argentina, the Pinochet regime in Chile, and the conflict in Peru between the government and the Shining Path), while others have emerged as a response to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The majority of the textiles were created by women, though in some instances, men have also contributed to their creation. Conflict Textiles is the name of both the digital resource and a physical collection of textiles. Originating from the Art of Survival International and Irish Quilts in 2009 in Derry, Northern Ireland, this collection and online repository highlights the prolific use of textiles as a medium through which individuals are able to express themselves and the overarching nature of this medium as a form of expression. These two entities, the website and the physical collection, coexist, with the Conflict Textiles website documenting the textiles present in the physical collection and events that occur, or have occurred, in association with the collection. In this way, the Conflict Textiles website serves as an online repository of the physical Conflict Textiles collection and allows users internationally to learn more about a collection that includes textiles from dozens of different countries including, but not limited to, Chile, Northern Ireland, and Argentina.

Article

Anne Pérotin-Dumon and Manuel Gárate

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Please check back later for the full article. Historizar el pasado vivo en América Latina (Historicizing the Living Past in Latin America), an edited digital publication composed of twenty-four studies, has been online since 2006. It marks perhaps the first effort to identify and examine the emergence of a new brand of contemporary history in Latin American countries that have returned to democratic rule after living under dictatorships or through an internal armed conflict. Historizar el pasado vivo remains the most systematic effort to explore in Spanish, in a digital format, what is often called historia reciente, or (after the French term) historia del tiempo presente—“addressing recent events that remain in the memories of many, by historians who lived through them, in a time in which their dramatic character has made them an enduring moral problem for the national conscience.” More broadly, Historizar el pasado vivo has aimed to draw the attention of the history profession, and the community of Latin Americanists at large, to an exciting intellectual development taking place in Latin America.

Article

Santería or Regla Ocha-Ifa belongs to the so-called religions of African origin in Cuba. Since its practice in the colonial period, it has displayed its ability to accommodate change. This is clearly shown in the practice and perception of Santeria, starting with the last decade of the 20th century, in the Habana neighborhood popularly known as the borough of Centro Habana. This essay focuses on the borough of Centro Habana, which is as much a geographical space as a relational one, and because it is considered “marginal” within the imaginary of the city. Without losing sight of its organizational and constitutive particularities, the identification of individuals’ ways of thinking and acting does not always represent changes in worldview or in the belief systems with which they interact. One interviewee stated: “The orisha is a good travelling companion.”

Article

Federico Navarrete Linares, Margarita Cossich Vielman, and Antonio Jaramillo Arango

The conquest of Mexico can be better understood if one leaves aside the myths of European superiority and acknowledge the key role played by the Indigenous conquistadors in the defeat of the Mexica and later the formation of the realm of New Spain. Dozens of Mesoamerican polities, large and small, joined the victorious Indo-Spanish armies, and hundreds of thousands of Mesoamerican women, warriors, and assistants, participated in the twenty years of “Mesoamerican wars” that started with the war against México-Tenochtitlan, 1519–1521, and continued all across what is now Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua until the 1540s. The victorious Indigenous conquistadors produced legal testimonies and historical accounts of their feats of war to obtain rewards and privileges, often granted by the Spanish crown. The most spectacular were the lienzos, visual histories of the conquest painted on large cloths. There are many of these Indigenous accounts, but the best known and perhaps the most influential one is the Lienzo de Tlaxcala. It is the most complete account of the Mesoamerican wars, produced by the most important ally of the Spaniards, and it is also the foremost example of the historical and ritual discourses produced by the Indigenous conquistadors, as the ultimate proof of their leading role in this process. This spectacular artwork easily assimilated European pictorial conventions to the much more complex Amerindian pictographic and ritual narrative genres. As such, it was the anchor for complex ritual performances that re-enacted the feats of those wars and also allowed for the constitution of the Amerindian “complex beings” of Malinche and Santiago, the keystones of Tlaxcalan cultural memory of the conquest. Its communicative success can be proved by the fact that the Tlaxcalan embassies that presented the Lienzo de Tlaxcala and other historical books and precious gifts obtained the privileges they sought and asserted the autonomy of Tlaxcala.

Article

Ian Kisil Marino, Pedro Telles da Silveira, and Thiago Lima Nicodemo

The category of “informal archives” was initially proposed by Adam Auerbach in a case study on the role of informal archives held by social leaders of peripheral communities in India. “Informal archives” imply forms of historical documentation beyond state authority, and preserved in a rough, poor, and ephemeral manner (in the digital realm). They typically involve connections to the past articulated by different social demands, whether regarding the dispute for a national memory in the digital-public realm, or the nostalgic nature of certain connections to the past, or even the social/political activism of civil society organizations. For this reason, informal archives are in unmapped locations, and in order to be accessed they need to be ethnographically reached. An empirical research based on data raised in early 2020 shows that, even with the creation of a theoretical basis for this kind of digital resource, constant updates will remain necessary due to the unstable nature of the subject.