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The Americas, lands of books

Les Amériques, territoires du livre

Las Américas, territorios del libro

As Américas, territórios do livro

RITA N°15

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Published on Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

In 2020, a project to introduce a tax on books in Brazil—the sector had so far enjoyed a tax-exempt status—, promoted by the Ministry of Economy, clashed with the country's publishing community and was finally buried by pressure from Evangelical circles, eternal supporters of the Bolsonaro government. In a country where the Bible is still the most widely read book, and where sales records are held by religious publishing houses, it is obvious that this could only represent an object of conflict. Beyond its anecdotal dimension, this fact raises questions about the book itself as an object. As trivial and mundane as it may seem, the book is still a strategic object, which can be apprehended in its materiality, as Roger Chartier does—by observing its circulation, its storage, its sales and purchases, whether official or underground—but also in its content.

Announcement

Argument

In 2020, a project to introduce a tax on books in Brazil—the sector had so far enjoyed a tax-exempt status—, promoted by the Ministry of Economy, clashed with the country's publishing community and was finally buried by pressure from Evangelical circles, eternal supporters of the Bolsonaro government. In a country where the Bible is still the most widely read book, and where sales records are held by religious publishing houses, it is obvious that this could only represent an object of conflict. Beyond its anecdotal dimension, this fact raises questions about the book itself as an object. As trivial and mundane as it may seem, the book is still a strategic object, which can be apprehended in its materiality, as Roger Chartier does—by observing its circulation, its storage, its sales and purchases, whether official or underground—but also in its content.

The Americas then appear as fascinating territories of the book as a circulatory object and vector of thoughts, ideas, teachings, methods, know-how, or even story-telling and escape. With the European Age of Exploration, the Americas became an object of description and a subject of writings; one can in this respect quote Christopher Columbus as well as Amerigo Vespucci or Jean de Léry. From Montaigne to the Enlightenment philosophers, European thinkers fed their reflections on society with the radical experience of otherness that the stories of the Americas gave them (Mello Franco, 1937; Lestringant, 1994)). During colonization, the circulation and local production of books was not only a major management issue—in the case of Brazil, for example, books arrived from Portugal after censorship and printing and publishing were prohibited in the country until 1808 (Hallewell, 2005)—but also a vehicle for the circulation of ideas for the development of these overseas territories. The influence of the writings of the Neuchâtel philosopher Emer de Vattel in the North American constitutional process (Richarson, 2012) bears witness to these circulation issues between metropolis and colony. From the colonial era to the present day, from the destruction of the Aztec codices to the international marketing of e-books, focusing on the history of the book object in (and about) the Americas means looking at the intertwined histories of writing, publishing, and reading, and at the evolution of these socio-cultural practices (Amory and Hall, 2007).

Submissions may follow several lines of thought. One such thread could focus on the constitution of private and public libraries in the Americas (Midori Daecto, 2011; Martins, 2015), without forgetting questions around the sociology and history of reading. The new ways of reading and receiving books in the digital era have, in recent years, strongly aroused debate and lead to questions about the relationship that individuals have with books. The GAFAMs being major players in this debate, the presence of the Americas is obvious.

It would also be appropriate to question the emergence and subsequent transformations of publishing houses with local capital, the life and positioning of authors, editors, booksellers, librarians, readers, and commentators: a whole set of actors who make the production, circulation, and commentary of the book to, in and from the Americas (Thompson, 2021). Thus, submissions could examine the constitution of national or regional literary and editorial fields, as Pierre Bourdieu (1998) or Franco Moretti (2000) do, as well as the circulation of books in a bilateral logic.

Another issue at hand is the formation of the identity of American societies through the book, the publishing markets, the place of international giants such as Amazon, or popular initiatives, such as the "cartoneros" movement, which seeks to circulate poetry against commercial logic. On the literary level, the innovations brought about by social-network-, digital-technology-inspired writing are other fields of inquiry opened by such a subject which seem to be at the heart of central issues for the future of societies, economies and artistic practices in the Americas.

It also seems necessary to think of the book in its scholastic as well as technical uses, to see it as a central commodity in a business with captive customers (pupils, students), but also as a support of technical and scientific knowledge in various fields (industrial, mining, agricultural, etc…).

To conclude, it remains essential to observe that the book is as much a content as the object that materializes it in its circulation. Thus, we accept and encourage submissions from a range of disciplines which can explore further the place of the book in the Americas.

Submission guidelines

Thus, on the occasion of its fifteenth issue, RITA proposes, in its Thema section, to explore the Americas as territories of the book through the different approaches mentioned in this call for papers.

For its Thema section, the submitted manuscripts must respect the following criteria

  • 50,000 characters maximum (including notes, bibliography and spaces)
  • Articles can be written in French, English, Spanish, or Portuguese
  • They must be accompanied by a 1,000-character abstract and 3 to 5 keywords.

As usual, in addition to its thematic section, the next issue of RITA will include a non-thematic section, Champ libre, for which all contributions are also welcome. This section is divided into five headings, as follows:

  • Research Notes are articles presenting research in progress or completed, whose subject does not correspond to the theme of the issue. They must include a problematic, present a clear and detailed methodology and take the form of a scientific reflection (40,000 characters maximum, including notes, bibliography and spaces)
  • The objective of the Research Factory is to raise methodological questions or to deal specifically with theoretical tools (15,000 characters maximum, including notes, bibliography and spaces)
  • Dissertation Summaries give visibility to the most recent research in a concise version (25,000 characters maximum, notes included, bibliography and spaces not included).
  • Research Syntheses offer reviews of recently published works on American themes (35,000 characters maximum, including notes, bibliography and spaces).
  • The section Perspectives on the Americas offers the opportunity to publish texts with a freer expression and form, such as accounts of field experiences, personal reflections on a theme or a singular object of study, or literary compositions (30,000 characters maximum, including notes, bibliography and spaces).

Complete articles that respect the standards of the chosen rubric (for more details, consult: http://www.revue-rita.com/note-aux-auteurs/normes-de-presentation.html) are expected at the following address: revue.rita@gmail.com

until September 27, 2021.

We remind you that the papers can be written in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Selection

A first selection of the texts will be made by the Editorial Committee which will inform the authors of the acceptance or refusal of their article during the month of November 2021.

Subsequently, the texts selected for the Thema and Champ libre sections will be evaluated by anonymous readers. Articles may be rejected or accepted with or without modifications.

Issue 15 of RITA will be published at the beginning of the second semester 2022

We remind you that articles must be unpublished and cannot be submitted simultaneously to other journals

Bibliographical References

Amory Hugh et Hall David D. (dir.) (2007). A History of the Book in America. Vol. 1: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Bourdieu Pierre (1998). Les règles de l’art, Genèse et structure du champ littéraire. Paris: Points Seuil.

Hallewell Laurence (2005). Historia do livro no Brasil. Sáo Paulo: EDUSP.

Lestringant Franck (1994). Le Cannibale : Grandeur et décadence. Ed. Perrin.

Martins Ana Luiza (2015). Gabinete de leitura. São Paulo: EDUSP.

Midori Daecto Marisa (2011). O Imperio dos Livros. São Paulo, EDUSP / FAPESP.

Mello Franco Affonso (de) (1937). O índio brasileiro e a Revolução Francesa; as origens brasileiras da teoria da bondade natural. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio.

Moretti Franco (2000). Atlas du roman européen (1800-1900). Paris: Seuil.

Richardson Brian (2012). “The use of Vattel in the American Law of Nations”. The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 106, n°33: 547-57.

Thompson John B. (2021). Book Wars : The Digital Revolution in Publishing. Londres: Polity Press.

Subjects


Date(s)

  • Monday, September 27, 2021

Keywords

  • livre, territoire

Contact(s)

  • Revue RITA
    courriel : revue [dot] rita [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Antonio Ramos Ramírez
    courriel : revue [dot] rita [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« The Americas, lands of books », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, July 22, 2021, https://calenda.org/900003

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