Francia Márquez, the first Afro-Colombian vice-president

On 19th June 2022, after a second round of voting, the Colombian people elected their first ever left-wing government, led by Gustavo Petro, with Francia Márquez as vice-president, the first ever Afro-Colombian and only the second woman to hold the position. In this post, we will focus on this trailblazing woman, who studied Law specifically to be prepared to defend the rights of her people, and on the context that led her and her country to this new chapter in their history.

Francia Elena Márquez Mina was born in 1981 in Yolombó, in the Cauca Department on the West coast of Colombia, one of the areas of the country where enslaved populations from Africa have lived since the 17th century. Traditionally in this region, Black slaves were forced to work in gold mining, sugarcane plantations and cattle ranches. To this day, the impact of exploitatative and extractivist practices on peoples, territories and resources in the region are still painfully relevant and have been part of Francia Márquez’s life experience since her earliest formative years, which would lead her to become a committed activist from the age of 17 years old. This life experience remains the basis of her politics, as she makes the move from activism to mainstream politics. Continue reading

The first comprehensive study of the cartonera phenomenon

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the book Taking Form, Making Worlds: Cartonera Publishers in Latin America, on Friday 10th June at 4pm at Centre of Latin American Studies (Alison Richard Building, Seminar Room 204). 

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.  

(from the publisher’s description) 

You are all kindly invited to attend! 

Clara Panozzo 

Ukrainian ebooks about the 2001 census : the Slavonic June 2021 items of the month

This week, we have purchased 30 ebooks of statistics and analysis about the 2001 Ukrainian census which provide an important snapshot of Ukraine within its first post-Soviet decade.  29 of the the 30 are in Ukrainian and represent our first ebooks in that language (there remain few Ukrainian ebook options for institutions in general), and 12 of the 30 focus on data for Crimea specifically.

From the introductory volume.

The sole English title provides an introduction to the census.  First all-national population census: historical, methodological, social, economic, ethnic aspects gives a summary of previous censuses involving Ukrainian lands, from the first universal census of the Russian Empire in 1897 to the last Soviet census in 1989.  It also provides a useful, quite detailed description of how the December 2001 census was prepared for and carried out, followed by a summary of findings.  The book then ends with a section about projected changes over the course of 2005-2015.  This section discusses the social and economic problems facing the country and its regions (low birth rates, for example, and employment and life expectancy inequalities) and plans for addressing these.

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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