Exclusionary commemoration

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By PATRICIA VALIM*

The southeasternization of the bicentenary of September 7, 1822 – the social production of an embarrassment

Contrary to what is imagined, the historical project of Bolsonarist denialism of crossing the heart of Pedro I to here is far from being the greatest and only vexation of this bicentennial of September 7, 1822 – yes, because the bicentennial of the independence of the Brazil must be celebrated at the moment when the crisis became irreversible: July 2, 1823. When the dominant sector of the Province of Bahia adhered to Pedro I's political project in the name of maintaining slavery, among other reasons.

At the end of a serious event on “The independence of Brazil”, held throughout the week and organized by the entities SEO, ANPUH and Portal do Bicentenário, there was a vexatious, disorganized presentation prepared to disqualify other people's research through validation criteria elaborated from the production and institutional place of production of those who promoted themselves to the condition of referee/censor/commentator of books on the Independence of Brazil.

Through a set of power points (the choice of presentation is not arbitrary), the referee/censor/commentator selected phrases written on social networks or said in lectures and conferences, removed the authorship and context of the same, and began to make allegedly analytical comments, but mocking each one. Then, the subject presented a list of 31 books on the subject, “arbitrarily chosen”, in his own terms, which “he was unable to read due to lack of time”, as some were recently released.

Despite the lack of reading – a basic requirement for someone to comment on someone else's book and that his students are probably charged for this –, the subject felt entitled to classify what is a serious work of history or not. What is a sculptural work, or, worse, he pointed out works that “are not sculptural because in times of political correctness they would not fit well”. Who gave you this authority? It became clear that the criterion of historical validation that Juan Guaidó of historiography used to disqualify other people's research concerns “him, his photo and his shadow”, that is, his production and who agrees with and gives public projection to the heap of his platitudes.

Obstinate in following that show of horrors and analytical fragility, the subject exposed several colleagues in the profession: he questioned titles and questioned the contents published in the recently released books, which he had not read, to affirm things like: “ I was in doubt about who was kidnapped, whether Dom Pedro or the 7th of September or the historical content”; “the book about the women who were there is the result of the current identity movement, as it is nothing more than a narrative dispute”; Maria Felipa de Oliveira did not exist”; “there is no protagonism of women in independence”.

It's all there in the video for those who are patient and resistant to the accent. At the end of the comments, especially the last two “conclusions”, he still managed to contradict his own platitudes. He also managed to enter the annals of this bicentennial as the greatest embarrassment of Brazilian historiography – the southeasternization of embarrassment.

Thus, the central question of this reasoning is: if the works are so bad and if everything is nothing more than a narrative dispute (memory of the vanquished), why would a professor at USP, who likes to repeat about the methodological rigors of the historical discipline, Was he wasting time commenting on the works he hadn't read instead of respecting professional colleagues, controlling anxiety to mock other people's production and actually holding a conference? Why the option of embarrassing and ridiculing professional colleagues and their productions, including mine, instead of highlighting the strength of research of a critical historiography of common sense, with publications despite the pandemic, attacks on history and the brutal cut of funds for this government's historical research? By the way, why not criticize him instead of aiming the grudge against those who are doing a lot of research?

The answer is simple, but not simplistic: the publications bothered him because they made explicit the fragility of his “argument of authority” as captain of the Independence of Brazil. This is one of the variables of the southeasternization of Brazilian history: legitimizing one's own position in the field through hierarchizations between historical events, locations and agents, in addition to hierarchizing research groups and researcher(s). And this dispute, we know, is about funding for research and for guys like him to keep talking to themselves.

When a historical event that took place on the Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo axis is nationalized, the historical events in other locations and carried out by silenced(x) agents are emptied of historicity under the umbrella of the so-called regional history and/or identity history despite documentary evidence to the contrary.

The only existing “identitarianism” is the white, southeastern, heteronormative, petulant man who thinks he can hold a “conference” to scuttle books he hasn't read and that's all right. This is someone concerned with maintaining the prominent place he thinks he has on the analysis of the independence of research that has irrefutably questioned his southeasternization of this historic event.

This also occurs with the theme of the so-called “second slavery” – not by chance white men from USP wanting to guide and rank the research agendas of historians from other parts of the country. Historical denialism grew frighteningly precisely because of postures like this and because of the identity of the white man who feels entitled to do anything, including embarrassing himself on a planetary scale, as happened at the end of the colloquium.

For all that, two things. (1) if the catalog of commented books based on the title and back cover is nothing more than a narrative dispute, an “identity” book about something minor like the history of women and their struggles for rights, may this type of commentator remain ensconced in the southeast wonderful, lovingly caring for the bicentenary of September 7, 1822 so as not to be sad – let Mateus rock you, right?! Because continuing to invite this type of commentator to reaffirm the southeastern nature intrinsic to the survival of his research group is an option that can be avoided. But it is not an option to respect other people's research and criticize after reading a book instead of embarrassing yourself.

(2) There is no need to make the sacrifice of going to Bahia to say that the 2nd of July meant nothing and that Maria Felipa de Oliveira, who died in 1873, did not exist. Or going to comment on the insignificance of Bárbara de Alencar in Recife or going to Alagoas to doubt the existence of Ana Lins. It was enough to read the arbitrarily commented books based on the titles that this subject would realize that with the democratization of access to graduation and the decentralization of research funds for other graduate programs in History: we have already made our epistemological Confederation of Ecuador, analyzing the history of aborted revolutions in the north and northeast. And she has no turning back.

Finally, I want to send a huge kiss to each colleague who wrote to me yesterday and today about the humiliation narrated above. The collection that I contribute with an article is great, and the detailed research on the pamphlet “Lamentos de uma Bahiana”, whose authorship I discovered, was presented in the mass colloquium that the dear advisor organized and is available on YouTube and is part of my book new. I want to send a special kiss to the class of professors and researchers of History/USP who do not fit in at all with the arrogant and petulant posture seen yesterday.

Let's go together, together and together in the construction of a diverse, plural, situated and socially referenced history in opposition to historiographic violence, unproductive pedantry and professional historical denialism as the governmentality of Bolsonarism. We will win!

*Patricia Valim is a professor of history at the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP). She is the author, among other books, of Bahia Conjuration of 1798 (EDUFBA).

 

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