GUMELAB, a laboratory on Latin American history and memory through entertainment series
Dr. Mónika Contreras-Saiz, science collaborator at the Institute for Latin American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, together with Prof. Dr. Stefan Rinke, directs the project entitled: “Transmission of History through Entertainment Media in Latin America. Laboratory for Memory Research and Digital Methods-GUMELAB” (Geschichtsvermittlung durch Unterhaltungsmedien in Lateinamerika. Labor für Erinnerungsforschung und digitale Methoden-GUMELAB). Launched in April 2021, the project will receive funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung-BMBF) for the next three years.
Researchers from Universidad de Antioquia (Leonardo Pachón), Universidad del Rosario (Carolina Galindo), Universidad de los Andes (Tatjana Louis), Universidad de Chile, and the Universities of Goiania and Campinas in Brazil are collaborating to develop GUMELAB. Dr. Carolina Galindo (Universidad del Rosario) is spokesperson for her university at CAPAZ.
Dr. Contreras-Saiz is one of the representatives of LAI/FU Berlin at CAPAZ. She presented part of the topics to be examined in this project at the 2018 congress organised by CAPAZ in Bogota. In 2019, CAPAZ talked with Dr. Contreras-Saiz, leading to the production of a video-column entitled: “Transforming historical consciousness”, in which the researcher explains the importance of memory for the work of social leaders who, thanks to their denunciations, make the past visible as a way to vindicate their rights. She criticises the security situation for leaders and defenders at this time, which is unfortunately becoming more acute today.
CAPAZ video column with Mónika Contreras-Saiz (Spanish with subtitles in German)
Summary of the project (extract):
Over the last twenty years in Latin America, the production of soap operas and series that deal with the region’s recent past has increased considerably. These cultural products influence viewers’ perception of the past and consequently their historical consciousness, as well as their political education. Telenovelas mobilise memories, and thus have an immense impact on the representation of history and the present not only in Latin America, but also within Latin American exile and migrant communities in the United States or Europe. Telenovelas and series of this kind shape cultural memory beyond the borders of the region. Based on soap operas and series as entertainment media, the project investigates the construction, transfer and transnational reception of Latin American history and memory, as well as their effects on the political positions of their viewers. In close collaboration with researchers from the historical, cultural, social and natural sciences, the project will initially focus on case studies in Colombia, Chile and Brazil.
(NW: Claudia Maya. English: Tiziana Laudato)