Librarian-approved free online content for Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies

A new resource offering access to an extraordinary wealth of electronic resources with Latin American and Iberian content is now available to researchers. The Latin America North East Libraries Consortium (LANE), a working group within the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) is behind this impressive initiative.

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CLACSO e-books, the importance of metadata and Open Access in Latin America

The difficulties in acquiring and offering access to print material during the current COVID-19 crisis has meant that many librarians have re-directed their efforts towards making more online resources available to their readers. Part of the work done by the Latin American and Iberian collections team has concentrated on publications by CLACSO (Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales), a network of 700 research institutions in 52 countries, mainly from Latin America. CLACSO’s catalogue has 2953 open access ebooks, mainly in Spanish and Portuguese, and some of them can be accessed directly from the library’s catalogue, iDiscover, and through the JSTOR platform that hosts them. However, rather disappointingly, metadata for these books was so poor that it could have caused confusion for readers. The vast majority of the nearly 200 records, which were meant to make these books retrievable, often featured little more than a title (sometimes incomplete) and the publisher’s name. Continue reading

Some resources on racism in Spain and Portugal

In line with recent events linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, this blog post features ebooks and other titles dealing with racism and social prejudice in Spain, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa available to Cambridge students and researchers.

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Juan Latino, 16th-century Afro-Spaniard freed slave, poet and Latin professor

Juan Latino (ca. 1517-ca. 1594) was born most likely in Baena (southern Spain), descendent of Guinea born parents. He was the first Afro-European to write in Latin and thus, have a literary career. In fact, he was called “Latino” for his mastery of that language. We should not forget that slavery was common at the time in Europe (see 532:8.b.200.1).

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Slave with chains & woman in the Kingdom of Castille, Christoph Weiditz, 1530-40, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg (via Wikimedia, click to see enlarged)

The fascinating story of Juan Latino is for Professor Aurelia Martín Casares (Universidad de Granada) an example of the triumph of wisdom (see C213.c.3056); he was able to break prejudices and social conventions in a somewhat rigid early modern society. In this story the noble family to whom he belonged, played a crucial role in helping make possible his exceptional achievements. Martín Casares compares Latino with the American abolitionist writer and orator Frederick Douglass (who escaped slavery in the 1830s), but makes the point that Latino lived three centuries earlier than Douglass. Continue reading

Some resources on racism in Latin America

Screenshot - 070720 - 11:46:38As mentioned in the article Estudios sobre el racismo en América Latina by María Dolores París Pombo, studies about racism in Latin America have only started to become prominent since the Eighties. París Pombo argues that this may have to do with the underlying “official” narrative, in some Latin American countries, that the mestizo (the person of combined Indigenous and European descent) and the mulato were the quintessential incarnations of national identities, chosen as such in an attempt to defend and differentiate those nations from the metropolis. For many Latin American intellectuals, racism was just a rare phenomenon. This is, of course, not truly the case and studies on racism (and also on endoracismo, the kind of unconscious and self-imposed racism that manifests as a rejection of your own identity and the undervaluation your own historical past, that has permeated in in several indigenous communities) have consolidated ever since but in different ways in different countries, depending on how they each are trying to come to terms, or not, with their own colonial historical memories and their current realities.  Continue reading