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Intermittences of humor: an analysis of the production of the cartoonist Belmont in the newspapers Folha da Manhã and Folha da Noite (1921-1947)

Grant number: 12/18674-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2013
Effective date (End): October 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal researcher:Marcos Francisco Napolitano de Eugenio
Grantee:Vinícius Aurélio Liebel
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research aims at restoring and analyzing the work of Belmonte, cartoonist of a leading Brazilian newspaper (Folha da Manhã) between 1937 and 1945. Drawing in a dictatorial context, Belmonte faced censorship and had his freedoms seriously curtailed, which directly reflected on his work. That did not however stop him from criticizing the authoritarian governments that were established around the globe at that time - starting with the Vargas regime itself. Using humor, irony and an intricate game of analogies, the cartoonist denounced the oppressive nature and the contradictions of the government headed by Getúlio Vargas.Thus, this work intends to specifically analyze the visual strategies used by Belmonte in these criticisms, the performativity and the internal dynamics of the cartoons, the gestures of the characters (which launched the metaphors) and the imaginary that runs through them and is built with these drawings. This is a pluralistic research, in which different branches of knowledge are articulated aiming at a detailed analysis in multiple aspects relating to the cartoons. Because the cartoons primarily carry political themes, sociological and political theories gain prominence in our argumentation, in particular the work of Hannah Arendt, Pierre Rosanvallon, Pierre Ansart, Rene Remond and Ernst Cassirer. Beyond the political, the ideas of Erwin Panofsky, Pierre Bourdieu, Raymond Aron, Cornelius Castoriadis and Karl Mannheim are also highlighted.Methodologically, the research stands out by having a method of image analysis unprecedented in the country. The Documentary Method, developed by Ralf Bohnsack, was used in the doctoral research Die Politischen Karikaturen und die Grenzen des Humors und der Gewalt, held at the Freie Universität Berlin between the years 2007 and 2011. The present work aims at introducing the methodology and at developing it in Brazil, leading the research developed at the University of São Paulo to an international interdisciplinary debate, especially the one developed in the Forschungswerkstatt qualitativer Projekte, which is also coordinated by Ralf Bohnsack.The importance of this research lays also in the construction of memory and history of São Paulo and Brazil, especially in the field of press and mass media. The collecting, cataloging and analysis of Belmonte's cartoons - one of the most important cartoonists in the history of the country - are consistent with a relatively recent trend in Brazilian historiography of opening space for the use of images as primary sources in the construction of historical knowledge. Regarding cartoons, this trend is still incipient. This work intends thereby to offer a basilar case study in this research field to Brazilian historiography, coupled with the introduction of a consistent methodology to the study of cartoons. (AU)

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