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Memory as a challenge for historiography: Taunay collection between hypomenatas and palimpsestos

Grant number: 19/02230-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2019 - July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal Investigator:Wilma Peres Costa
Grantee:Wilma Peres Costa
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil


The proposed work involves the transcription and analysis of a large set of manuscript sources related to Alfredo Taunay (Visconde de Taunay) (1843-1889) belonging to the Taunay Collection of the Museu Paulista. The sources were mostly digitized by me, and there are still some funds to be consulted, both in the Museu Paulista, in the National Archive of Rio de Janeiro and in the Imperial Museum of Petropolis. The potential of the Taunay Collection will be explored not only in the richness of the repertoire of sources it represents, but also in the historiographical challenge that crystallizes there. It contains a vast material referring to the historian Affonso d 'Escragnolle Taunay (son of Alfredo, Viscount de Taunay), the "soul" behind the collection, testimony of his effort and strategy to build the father's memory and preserve and defend his symbolic and material legacy. They also testify to their research for the construction of family memory in the long term, since they cover not only the four generations of the Taunay family who lived the Brazilian life in the 19th century, but also their French ancestors and the coeval connections between the French and Brazilian members who allowed the historian Affonso Taunay to construct a documentary base for the history of the family from the medieval period. More than anything else, the Collection bears witness to the enormous work of this historian in preserving family memory, preserving, certifying, and even "building" documents. He is omnipresent with his pencil and his multiple notes, indicating to whom belongs each document, to what work he refers, from where he was copied, and a result of his compulsive transcription work. Affonso Taunay's "marginalia" has become a subject of inescapable research, as it provides ample evidence of the network of sociability of the family in both worlds, as well as of the active action of the historian Afonso Taunay in elaborating a meaning for the family "saga" , making it a true metaphor for the construction of nationality. His hand, his pencil, his correspondence in search of evidence, copying documents and disseminating them are everywhere, guiding and challenging the researcher by what these actions on the collection itself reveal and reinvent. (AU)

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