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Manuel Zapata Olivella Collection: The Ethnographic Collection

Project: MZO Grupo Etnográfico
Fellowship: Project Proposal

"As an historian from South America, it has been refreshing to see how Vanderbilt’s library cares about document preservation and values making its collection accessible to the public. I have been particularly struck about the possibilities opened up with digital technology."  — Tiago Maranhão

About the Project

Manuel Zapata Olivella (1920-2004) was a noted Colombian anthropologist, folklorist, physician, playwright and novelist. Vanderbilt’s Special Collections houses his personal papers that consist of over one hundred fifty boxes of manuscripts, correspondence, publications, tapes, interviews, scrapbooks, and photographs. His ethnographic collection (Grupo etnográfico) consists of audio and written transcripts of interviews from a wide range of ethnic groups, including many who were marginalized and from remote areas. Interviews focused on health, traditional medicine, healers, plants and food ways, witchcraft, religious traditions, fiestas, marriage and death rituals, music, folk tales, and magic. Tiago and Brad created an online exhibit of selected ethnographies and wrote corresponding essays that trace Colombia’s regional and ethnic differences and underscore the impact this has had on contemporary Colombia.

Tiago Fernandes Maranhão

About the Fellow

Tiago Fernandes Maranhão is a first year PhD student at the history department working with Dr. Marshall Eakin. Tiago has a BA in history from the Federal University of Pernambuco (Brazil) and a MA in political science from the University of Lisbon (Portugal). He was a college professor in Brazil for six years and his master’s work was a comparative analysis of the Portuguese and the Brazilian migration policies during World War II under their authoritarian regimes. He is currently interested in questions concerning race, nation and region in early 20th century Latin America/Brazil.