Sound and History

How do audiovisual sources change the telling of history? Prior to the invention of the invention of the camera in the mid-19th century, the only sources we have are written or material. But with the development of technology that could record images, then sound, and finally film, the types of sources available to historians of the last two centuries proliferated.

In all the cases on the following pages, the audio (and in some cases, video) reveals things about which the written transcript of the Câmara’s proceedings, the Diário da Câmara dos Deputados, is silent. Sometimes this is because the material edited out of the Diário da Câmara violated the Câmara’s rules of order and were thus not dignified by being included in the official record. Their “anti-regimental” nature literally caused their erasure from the official history – but not from the audio recording. In other cases, especially during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, the congressional leadership left entire speeches out of the record, or edited them, because they feared that they might offend the military and create tension between the regime and Congress. Their political volatility meant that they could not be included in the official history – but apparently no one thought to erase them from the tape of the session.