This project arose in 2012 from the research of Bryan Pitts, a Duke University doctoral student in Latin American History, as he completed research on the ways in which civilian politicians’ strategies for confronting military tutelage and popular mobilization were transformed by Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship. During this period, politicians lived in constant fear that the military might remove politicians who criticized their rule, or even close Congress altogether. As a result, controversial speeches were sometimes heavily edited, or even removed from the written record as though they had never happened. Pitts emailed the Arquivo da the Câmara dos Deputados to inquire if perhaps there were audio recordings available of speeches that had been edited or removed. In fact, the Câmara’s staff had recently completed a massive digitization project of over four decades of speeches. And so this project was born.
In 2014, Duke faculty and students interested in Brazil launched a two-year Humanities Lab (later extended to three years) on the theme Global Brazil: Nature, Politics, and Culture. The Lab is a project of Duke’s Humanities Writ Large initiative through the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute and is funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The purpose of the lab is to facilitate collaboration between faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates on cutting edge digital humanities research projects.
Sound and Politics: Listening to Brazil’s Congress is an initiative of the “Politics” section of the Global Brazil Lab, organized by Bryan Pitts, postdoc in Brazilian History and Latin American Studies at the University of Georgia, and directed by John D. French, professor of History and African and African American Studies at Duke University.