Museu Nacional Solidarity Network
The ASA Museu Nacional Solidarity Support Network has now wound up. The network was set up in the wake of the devastating fire that destroyed the National Museum building in Rio de Janeiro in September 2018. Having kicked off in a well-attended meeting held at the ASA conference at Oxford that year, the network has been a prime expression of solidarity of UK-based anthropologists with our Brazilian colleagues, and helped coordinate contributions to initiatives taken by the latter in reconstituting both the material and the human resources of the Museu.
The Francisca Keller library is part of the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology of the National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (PPGAS/MN/UFRJ). Before the recent fire, it was considered to be one of the most important social science libraries in Brazil and Latin America, holding a priceless collection of some 37,000 volumes, collected over the last 50 years of the library’s existence.
PPGAS, together with UFRJ’s Library System initiated a book donation campaign.
There are several visiting/writing-up fellowship possibilities for doctoral students from PPGAS currently being developed.
Jeferson Scabio is a recognised student at the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford, from January 2019 to June 2019. He is co-supervised by Dr Andreza A. de Souza Santos and Professor Elizabeth Ewart. To know more about the collaboration between Oxford and the Museu, please get in touch by email: andreza.desouzasantos(at)lac.ox.ac.uk
On the evening of September 2, 2018, Museu Nacional, the most ancient scientific Brazilian institution, burnt down as a result of successive decades of neglect of the country authorities. Documents and artefacts fundamental to the history of Brazil, especially of indigenous and black people, as well as collections that expressed our biodiversity wealth, were reduced to ashes in a matter of hours, an immeasurable loss for Brazilians and for humanity as a whole. It is not just about a dead past, but about our future: when we lost the record of what we were, we lost a part of what we could be.
As a gesture of solidarity and recognition of Museu’s importance, the University of Oxford, in an initiative led by the Brazilian Studies Programme at the Latin American Centre (LAC) in collaboration with the School of Anthropology & Museum of Ethnography (SAME), offered a recognized student position to a PhD candidate of the Programa de Pós Graduação em Antropologia Social (PPGAS) from Museu Nacional. I applied and was selected for this fortunate opportunity, given that, as a consequence of that announced tragedy, the PPGAS has lost its library (one of the biggest anthropology library of Latin America) and is functioning precariously without any basic infrastructure.
Over the last two years, I have carried out ethnographic research with social movements from Rio de Janeiro’s slums, focused on state policies and forms of action of these movements. Now, in the stage of writing up, I came to Oxford to profit from the contact with lectures, seminars, and academic community, as well as University libraries, in the hope that my work may be a small but significant step on the long way of reinventing what the fire has devoured.
The network convenors were:
Guilherme Heurich g.heurich(at)ucl.ac.uk
Antonia Walford antonia.walford(at)ucl.ac.uk
Julia Sauma juliasauma(at)gmail.com