Election Candidate: Ricardo Santhiago

Biographical Statement

Ricardo Santhiago is an assistant professor at the Federal University of São Paulo. His research focuses predominantly on oral history, public history, and Brazilian culture. He received a MA and a PhD in Social History at the University of São Paulo, having in 2013 completed a dissertation on the development of oral history in Brazil. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Fluminense Federal University from 2013 to 2015, he carried out a comprehensive study on the history, theory, and methodology of public history in Brazil.

Santhiago has coordinated several projects funded by private and public organizations. He directs the Urban Memory Center (CMUrb) and the Archive of the Memory of the Brazilian Arts (Amabile). His current individual projects include a community oral history with grassroot artists from São Paulo’s peripheral areas and a project on the composer Miriam Batucada, resulting in a biography, a digital archival collection, a music album, and a series of concerts and public programs.

He has published a dozen of authored and edited books, as well as articles, chapters, commentaries, reviews, and translations. He is now completing a multi-authored book on creativity in oral history with contributors from nine countries. Among other awards, he has received the Oral History Article Award from the US Oral History Association in 2012 and the New Professional Award from the US National Council on Public History in 2014. He now serves as the vice-president of the Brazilian Oral History Association and the editor of the journal História Oral.

Statement of interest in the position and in the IFPH

Over my years of involvement in public history, I have been moved by the belief that the plural, dialogic, and participatory features of our intellectual and professional practice should be reflected in the very organization of our field. I have been lucky to witness that this has been the case with the International Federation for Public History, and I will be committed to strengthening these characteristics if I am elected as one of its delegates for the term 2021-2025.

As a founding member of the Brazilian Public History Network, created in 2012, and a member of its decentralized management committee since then, I have been pursuing that same goal on a domestic scale. In a country with continental dimensions, that has been no less than an enormous challenge. I can add, however, that it has been a successful one, as our diversified publications, projects, and nationwide conferences attest.

From the first National Public History Course I organized at the University of São Paulo in 2011 – when, unexpectedly, two hundred individuals applied – the Brazilian public history movement has grown enormously, diversified, and capillarized across the five Brazilian regions. I can say without doubt or modesty that our Network was instrumental in bringing public history to the very center of the debates of historical research as a whole in Brazil.

I intend to invest the same energy in IFPH’s efforts to invigorate a truly global public history community. I believe that this must include the development of communication and interaction strategies capable of reaching non-English speakers, individuals from countries with scarce research funding, as well as the huge contingent of school history teachers whose direct contact with masses of students (who are the publics of public history in the present and will continue to be in the future) provides valuable insights for the public history practice.

By now, I had the opportunity of collaborating with IFPH on a few occasions. From 2018 to 2020, I served as an editorial member of the International Public History journal and co-edited its special issue on public history and transitional memory. And in 2018, I organized the 5th IFPH Conference – hosted in São Paulo, in simultaneity with the 4thInternational Symposium of the Brazilian Public History Network. It was a remarking occasion when different accents met and reproduced the enormous variety of themes and perspectives of our field.

Since my participation in the Bogotá conference in 2016, and even before, I greatly enriched my views on public history learning from colleagues who, from different contexts, have faced common challenges. They have creatively interpreted the legacy of the public history scholarship and nourished and improved it with solutions that move our field forward in exciting ways. That brings me to the mission I want to pursue in my term at the IFPH steering committee, may I succeed at this election: collaborate for a dialogue that – while respecting cultural, linguistic, and intellectual local specificities – can be genuinely transnational.

Ricardo Santhiago

Assistant Professor, Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp)

E-mail address: ricardo.santhiago@unifesp.br


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