Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Roof view froma distance

Cultural Periodicals of Latin America

Duration17.6.2013 - 30.9.2019
CoordinationDr. Ricarda Musser

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Select an item

1. Co-applicant


2. Project Group


IAI staff

  • Nadja Ronnisch   
  • Dagmar Bimberg   
  • Doris Beck   
  • Andreas Levin   
  • Ania Müller   
  • Stefan Schmidt   
  • Hans-Jürgen Ahl   
  • Götz Hinderlich   
  • Olga Andreesen   
  • Ariane Herms   

former IAI staff

  • Jeannette Fischer   2013-2015


3. Short description

Point of departure

The acquisition of cultural periodicals will give clearer contours to and further expand the Ibero-American Institute’s special collections focusing on the popular culture of Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past 15 years, the institute has used its own funds to acquire extensive holdings of the popular literature of individual countries. Examples include a collection of Argentine theater and literary periodicals that currently encompasses around 6,500 issues, and the more than 8,000 booklets of Brazilian literatura de cordel, which has its origins in the folk literature of the northeastern region of Brazil. Furthermore, using its own financial resources and third-party funding, the institute has extensively indexed a variety of holdings, such as the Robert Lehmann-Nitsche collection (including the Biblioteca Criolla, a library of Argentine popular literature) and José Guadalupe Posada’s Mexican collection, consisting of more than 600 issues and prints. These collections, which are unique in Germany, originated primarily in the period between 1880 and 1930.The planned acquisition of cultural periodicals fits in with the context of these collections. The reason is that, due to their diverse topics and modes of representation, the publications form an ideal link between high and popular culture. A precise definition of cultural periodicals is hard to find. In the relevant secondary literature the genre is not clearly distinguished from other periodical formats. In terms of content, cultural periodicals focus on a great variety of topics. This diversity points to a broad concept of culture which in addition to the disciplines in the humanities that are oriented toward cultural studies also explicitly includes the natural sciences. This interdisciplinary approach is perhaps the most important feature of the cultural periodicals published between 1860 and 1930. Their diverse range of topics was covered in political, literary, sociological, satirical and technical articles, as well as in pieces on music theory and practice. A conscious effort was made to write texts in layman’s terms so that they would appeal to a broad academic and non-academic audience. The contributions were also highly diverse in terms of form. Primary and secondary literature was published alongside interviews, reviews, news and cartoons. Furthermore, most of the cultural periodicals featured numerous illustrations, photographs and graphics. They were also a popular medium for advertisements, including classified and personal ads.


Due to growing demand from researchers, the IAI plans to acquire around 30,000 individual issues of Latin American cultural periodicals from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. As regards the acquisition of cultural periodicals within the scope of the project, the institute selected countries from which it already held individual titles, most often in incomplete sets. A second criterion was that issues of these periodicals had to be currently offered for sale, either in digital form or on paper. The selected countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and Puerto Rico—reflect concrete demand and also form a balanced geographical cross-section of the IAI’s collection area. As permitted by law, the institute will digitize the periodicals using the Goobi workflow system and make them available through the relevant library reference tools.

Task Schedule

The institute has been acquiring, indexing and digitizing the cultural periodicals since mid-2013. The IAI library team, working together with a scanner operator hired for the project, will complete the project tasks by the end of September 2019. and make the materials available locally and nationally for research.

Expected Results

After the acquired materials have been indexed and digitalized and the collections have been completed, 165 periodical titles will be made available through the library’s OPAC and a special theme-based website. The results will be presented to the international research community at various national and international conferences. For example, a special panel on Latin American cultural periodicals will be organized by IAI staff for the 2017 Conference of the German Association of Hispanists and lead to a publication. Furthermore, as part of the project the digital copies of the works will be made available to researchers via the online portals Europeana, the Portal für Bibliotheken, Archive und Museen (BAM), the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek and SPK-Digital.


4. Products


  • Müller, Christoph (20.07.2016):La cultura popular en las revistas culturales colombianas (1915-1950)

    XLI Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, Friedich-Schiller-Universität, Jena (http://www.iili2016-jena.de) Förderung: DFG Exzellenzcluster Bild, Wissen, Gestaltung.

  • Musser, Ricarda (14.05.2014): ”Cultural Magazines of Latin America. An Acquisition and Digitalization Project of the Ibero-American Institute/Berlin”

    “SALALM Conference LIX”, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City. (http://salalm.org/Conf/) Förderung: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut.

  • Musser, Ricarda (28.04.2016): “Brazilian-French Cultural Contact in Serial Format: The Revista Popular (Rio de Janeiro, 1859-1862)”

    Popular Culture – Serial Culture: Nineteenth-Century Serial Fictions in Transnational Perspective, 1830s-1860s, Universität Siegen (https://www.uni-siegen.de/phil/popserialculture) Förderung: DFG, Universität Siegen.

  • Musser, Ricarda (13.05.2016): "Latin American Cultural Magazines (1860-1930): Acquisition and Digitization in the Ibero-American Institute Berlin"

    SALALM Conference LXI “Nuestro norte es el sur”: Mapping Resistance and Resilience in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies”, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (http://salalm.org/Conf/salalm-events/2016-archive) Förderung:DFG Exzellenzcluster Bild, Wissen, Gestaltung.

  • Musser, Ricarda (23.07.2016): Europäisch-brasilianischer Kulturkontakt im Serienformat: übersetzte Romane und Erzählungen in brasilianischen Kulturzeitschriften des 19. Jahrhunderts.

    21st World Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, Universität Wien (https://icla2016.univie.ac.at) Förderung: DFG Projekt Kulturzeitschriften Lateinamerikas.

  • Musser, Ricarda (03.10.2016): “Historia(s) en movimiento: La Primera Guerra Mundial, Alemania y los Aliados en el espejo de la literatura popular impresa en México y España”

    VIII Congreso Internacional de Lyra Minima: Las Culturas populares de Europa desde la literatura, la historia y la antropología: lod géneros breves de la tradición oral y su difusión impresa, Universidad de Valladolid (http://www.literaturaspopulares.org/tmp/wp-content/uploads/LMinima-VIII.pdf)Förderung: Fundación Joaquín Díaz Ureña, Universidad de Valladolid.


  • Panel „Kosmopolitismus aus den Rändern“: lateinamerikanische Frauenzeitschriften und Frauenseiten in Kulturzeitschriften (1880-1930)

    XXI. Deutscher Hispanistentag: Orte hispanischer Kultur in einer globalisierten Welt, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 29.03-02.04.2017, (http://www.hispanistentag2017.romanistik.uni-muenchen.de/sektionen/kulturwissenschaft/kosmopolitismus_raendern) Förderung: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut


  • Musser, Ricarda (2015): German-Brazilian Cultural Exchange in the Time of the Dictatorship: The Cultural Magazine« Intercâmbio »

    In : Anke Finger, Gabi Kathöfer u. Christopher Larkosh (Hrsg.): KulturConfusão : on German-Brazilian Interculturalities. Berlin : De Gruyter, 119-136.

  • Musser, Ricarda (2016): “Revistas culturales de América Latina: Un proyecto de adquisición y digitalización del Instituto Ibero-Americano, Berlín”.

    In: Delgadillo, Roberto C. (Hrsg.): Who Are We Really?: Latin American Family, Local and Micro-Regional Histories, and Their Impact on Understanding Ourselves. New Orleans: Tulane University, 113-122.


2017 || Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preussischer Kulturbesitz