On one of my visits to La Sofía Cartonera, a cardboard publisher at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina, I took this picture that shows cardboard book covers that have just been painted and are still wet. The man in the picture is Emiliano Luna, an undergraduate student who told me about the routine they have at La Sofía. Each one of them have shifts throughout the week and different tasks they need to complete each day.
Last Wednesday, I met Cecilia Pacella, director of La Sofía, at a cafe located on campus to discuss some of the main topics of my research. Most of my questions were related to the role that this project has in relation to a broader set of diversity policies within the university. According to her, La Sofia represents a space of encounter. She remarked that the horizontalism they aim for with the project needs to also question the way in which we think of higher education. These kind of university projects that have broader ramifications outside the university and that question the way knowledge and literature circulate also need to make us aware of the hierarchies in university classes and policies. Also, she mentioned that La Sofia tries to offer students the experience of dealing with an other that is outside university but with whom one can also produce knowledge. It is important to note that cardboard publishing houses were born in an urban context that has nothing to do with higher education, and that Universidad Nacional de Córdoba has re-appropriated this practice in an attempt to incorporate in academia a way of constructing knowledge and literature that responds to other mechanisms.
For me, this trip was the chance to talk to many of the people directly involved with this project and also to take part on some of the creative activities that they propose. I leave with many questions and ideas for my research project, regarding the role that these diversity politics play in a broader national context, the effective dimension of these collaborative work that is both internal and external to academia and of this network between different social actors.
Posted by Francisco Marguch – PhD Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese at NYU