I visited archives in São Paulo, Brazil, for five weeks this summer to examine humoristic magazines. While my project originally sought to study resistance humor against Brazil’s military dictatorship, spending time with archivists and other graduate students helped me identify a different type of humor that was more prevalent during the dictatorship: making fun of the lower classes. This trip was successful largely because I had enough time to get to know the directors of various archives and listen to their recommendations, especially since my topic of interest in not widely studied. In Brazil, many archives do not have online catalogues and resources are identified through local knowledge, so I would strongly recommend that students intending to do archival research reach out to archive directors ahead of time and set up meetings for upon arrival. This summer’s findings are extremely helpful and will help me formulate a good dissertation topic, which I may also apply to Mexico, another country I study. Though my topic changed throughout the research period, it changed in a constructive way and with support of local Brazilian archivists, which will be key to continued research down the line.
August 29, 2019