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Contesting invisibility through a collaborative production of knowledge: The Afrodescendant Presence in Argentina

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Marisol Fila, PhD Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese in Romance Languages and Literatures at U-M, discusses the projects she has been generating with the Afro-Argentine organization XangĂ´ to explore the possibilities of a scholarly work conceived as a combination of theory and practice, that seeks to produce knowledge in collaboration and to promote participative and horizontal partnerships between academia and community-based organizations.

The discourse of national identity that emerged in Argentina during the formation of the nation state in the nineteenth and the twentieth century was constructed under a particular classist and racist vision that privileged white European migrants at the same time that turned invisible the presence of Afrodescendants and indigenous groups. By studying historical and contemporary self-representations of Afrodescendant groups in printed and digital culture, Fila's research seeks to recognize the influence of the Afro community and culture to the formation of the Argentine national identity, and the necessity of locating Afrodescendants as social, political and cultural active subjects not only throughout the history but also in the present time. In addition to Fila's dissertation research, she has been developing projects in partnership with Afro-Argentine activist organizations that since the 1990s have been raising their voices against the discrimination suffered.

Emergent Research Series events seek to examine all aspects of the research lifecycle, with a critical focus on ethics, access, and innovation, and with an interest in emerging topics that are relevant to our local and global communities. These events are aimed at better understanding the new ways in which research relies on the work of libraries and information professionals, and where cutting-edge research pushes past what libraries currently support.

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