Monthly Archives: September 2017

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Continuing Theme Thursday focusing on revolutions related to Hispanic Heritage month, we move to Venezuela. The Bolivarian Revolution was a leftist social movement and political process in Venezuela led by late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth Republic Movement and later the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The “Bolivarian Revolution” is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the “Bolivarian Revolution” seeks to build a mass movement to implement Bolivarianism, popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption in Venezuela. They interpret Bolívar’s ideas from a socialist perspective.

Check out some of these books on Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Venezuela: Hugo Chávez and the decline of an “exceptional democracy”

Hugo Chávez: Socialist for the twenty-first century

Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution: Populism and democracy in a globalised age

Marxist thought in Latin America

In addition to print collections, the library provides access to streaming videos through several sources. This video, Venezuela: From the Inside Out, is “a voyage into Latin America’s most exciting experiment of the new millennium, exploring the history and projects of the Bolivarian Revolution through interviews with a range of its participants, from academics to farm workers and those living in the margins of Caracas. This introduction to the “revolucion bonita” (“pretty revolution”) offers in-depth interviews, unforgettable images and a lively soundtrack that will open new vistas onto this hopeful human project. As he totes his camera on bus and car trips all over Venezuela, director Clifton Ross becomes our tour guide through the Bolivarian Revolution. He sweeps us through its history and takes us to its works-in-progress on the ground. These schools, rural lending banks and cooperatives weave the fabric of Venezuela’s “Socialism of the 21st Century.” They show its failures and successes, its warp and woof. Through it all runs the frayed but unbreakable thread of a people in struggle. Ross is a freelance writer and videographer who has been reporting on revolutionary movements in Latin America for over 25 years (description taken from Kanopy).”

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Revolutions change everything about a people. Cultures shift, governments change, the actual infrastructure may be compromised, but in addition to all of the tangible changes, revolutions have massive effects on the arts. Music, film, literature, visual arts, performing arts, poetry…everything can be effected.

In this Theme Thursday, we continue to highlight Hispanic heritage, but we choose to focus not on the politics of a revolution, but how artistic communities experience and reflect on revolution. The American side of the story of our history with Cuba is pretty well known, but we’ve learned so much in time since political relations were restored. Combining this new access with scholars and artists who were permitted to visit prior to the lifted embargo, we can see how rich the arts were in Cuba under Castro.

This documentary, available through Kanopy, reframes the Cuban revolution through the art of photography, focusing on the personal stories of five Cuban photographers whose lives and work span nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba. From Havana to Miami, photographers on both sides of the political divide reveal the Cuban people’s resilient struggle for self-determination. Whether it is the passionate resistance of the revolutionary, or the individual artist’s struggle to emerge as an independent voice in a collective society, the photographers in REVOLUCION reveal the defiance of revolutionaries and artists alike, and discover the power of art to liberate.

This book, which can be checked out from Ames, discusses the works of a prominent Cuban film artist. The films of Tomas Gutierrez Alea (1928-1996) have always defined the limits of expression in revolutionary Cuba. This book is a thorough introduction to Cuba’s most prominent filmmaker. It covers all of Alea’s twelve feature films, with special emphasis on Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), The Last Supper (1976), and Strawberry and Chocolate (1993). Not only are these considered his best films, but each is also symptomatic of an identifiable period in revolutionary Cuba – the period of triumph and affirmation in the 1960s, the period of consolidation and institutionalization in the 1970s, and the period of crisis since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Cubans remained intent on reinforcing a Cuban identity rooted in its own culture, as exemplified by the work of Grupo Antillano. The simultaneous assimilation or synthesis of the tenets of modern western art and the development of Afro-Cuban art schools and movements created a new Cuban culture. This book, also available through Ames, offers the first comprehensive study of Grupo Antillano which thrived between 1978 and 1983 and has been written out of Cuban cultural and art history.

Check out the above resources and many more to learn more about Cuban art before, during, and after the revolution.

Hispanic Heritage Month in Kanopy!

“Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

“The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

Kanopy, a video streaming service made available to the IWU community by The Ames Library, has curated a fantastic collection of videos, clips, and films just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month. Check them out here, or by searching for them using the Ames website.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Neighboring nations usually become involved in the political events of the lands close by, and the United States during the Mexican Revolution was no exception. For example, during the American Revolution, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez, opened a second front to fight the British in the south. His support was instrumental to the U.S. victory. In the Mexican case, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in the downfall of Victoriano Huerta and he promoted Carranza against Villa.

For Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), we highlight the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution finds its roots in the development of Mexico from 1800 to 1910. Its government ranged from empire to many types of republic, be they centralist or federal. During that time Mexico won its independence from Spain and endured four invasions from four foreign powers – Spain (1829), France (1838), the United States (1846-1848), and one from an alliance of Spain, France, and Great Britain (1862). Ultimately, it became a federal republic governed almost completely from Mexico City with a capitalist economy heavily influenced by foreigners.

The Library of Congress archives and holds materials relevant to the history of the United States. Collections connected to the Mexican Revolution include print and multimedia materials. Check them out on their website, including this really cool interactive map.

Learn more about the Mexican Revolution with the above Library of Congress resources as well as some of these resources available through Ames.


Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

On Theme Thursdays this year we’ll reflect on and consider revolutions everywhere we can find them. Today we consider the Protestant Reformation, which was a major religious revolution.

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural revolution that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes. The disruption triggered wars, persecutions and the so-called Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church’s delayed but forceful response to the Protestants.

Want to learn more? Check out any one of these resources available through Ames Library.

The Protestant Reformation, 1517-1559 by Lewis W. Spitz

John Donne and the Protestant Reformation: New perspectives edited by Mary Arshagouni Papazian

The boy king: Edward VI and the protestant reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch

The Renaissance, the Protestant revolution and the Catholic reformation in continental Europe by Edward Maslin Hulme

The Protestant Reformation translated from the French by Audrey Butler

New Photos Available from ArtStor

“The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona is collaborating on a release of nearly 36,000 photographs in the Artstor Digital Library. The Center is recognized as one of the world’s finest academic art museums and study centers for the history of photography.

“The Center opened in 1975 with the archives of five living master photographers—Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer—and has grown to include 239 archival collections. Among these are some of the most recognizable names in 20th century North American photography: W. Eugene Smith, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Edward Weston, and Garry Winogrand.”

Learn more here.