Lucy Bell (Senior Lecturer in Spanish and translation studies, University of Surrey), Alexander Ungprateeb Flynn (Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Contemporary Art, UCLA) and Patrick O’Hare (UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, University of St. Andrews) have collaborated with the University Library in the building up of our cartonera collection . They will be presenting and discussing their new book, the first comprehensive study of cartonera, in conversation with David Lehmann (University of Cambridge) and Clara Panozzo (Latin American and Iberian Collections, Cambridge University Library). The book is published by the University of Texas Press and is available online for Cambridge users here.
Drawing on interdisciplinary research conducted across Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, the authors show how this hands-on practice has fostered a politically engaged network of writers, artists, and readers. More than a social movement, cartonera uses texts, workshops, encounters, and exhibitions to foster community and engagement through open-ended forms that are at once creative and social.
This post is about two small, beautiful publications that come packed with great significance. These are two books by the publishing collective Taller Leñateros (translated as ‘Firewood Collectors/Peddlers Worskhop’) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Taller Leñateros publishes the first books produced, written, illustrated, printed and bound entirely by Mayan people in 400 years1, and was founded in 1975 by Mexican poet Ambar Past.
Chiapas, as the perifery of the perifery, is known to the world because of the EZLN (the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or Zapatista Army of National Liberation) who democratically control a substantial part of this Southern Mexican territory in the name of local indigenous rights. The geographical position of Taller Leñateros in this rural area is of high importance in this context2, considering as well that most of the publishing industry of the country is located in Mexico City, where literary production is mandated by big national publishers, some of them linked to mainstream publishing multinationals.
In their article Latin American politics underground: Networks, rhizomes and resistance in cartonera publishing1, Lucy Bell and Patrick O’Hare (two of the researchers leading the two-year AHRC funded cartonera project ) use Deleuze’s, Guattari’s and (one of the Argentinian cartonera precursors) Javier Barilaro’s theories on rhizomes to explain the course by which, since their beginning in the early 2000s, cartonera publishing networks developed and multiplied (to around 250 currently) across Latin America, forming underground horizontal alliances in similarly fertile social and cultural soils.
The morning and afternoon workshops in the North Courtyard were led by Dr Lucy Bell and Dr Patrick O’Hare, researchers from the Cartonera Publishing project (cartón meaning cardboard in Spanish), of which Cambridge University Library, the British Library and Senate House Library are partners. Continue reading →
In 2017, Cambridge University Library became a partner in the two-year AHRC project “Cartonera Publishing : Relations, Meaning and Community in Movement.” The Library then agreed to build a collection of 200 items from cardboard publishers (editoriales cartoneras), with a focus on Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Continue reading →