Institutional memory and scientific heritage: faculty personal archives at the University of São Paulo by José Francisco Guelfi Campos

Abstract

Memory is an issue that stimulates debates among theorists in many fields of knowledge, who consider it under different prisms. The reflections I aim to share in this paper come from a specific reality: the initiatives towards the preservation of faculty personal archives at the University of São Paulo, repositories of not only their creators’ individual memory, but of the university itself and, by extension, of significant part of Brazilian scientific life. First, I examine the nature of recordkeeping in such archives, showing how it challenges traditional archival theory paradigms. After that, I explore the relation between archives and memory, debating its commercial and symbolic values by crossing contributions from Sociology of Science, History and Archival Science, three generally inarticulate disciplines in theoretical debate despite their intimate and necessary bond. Finally, I discuss the crucial role played by such archives in documenting teaching and research processes, borrowing the notion of scientific field formulated by Pierre Bourdieu and extending it to university working environment, pointing out questions on the creation of memorial policies towards the preservation of faculty personal archives and the access to their records.

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