Cristina MENEGUELLO, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil
Is history just a game for you?
The National Scientifics Olympiads of History in Brazil (2009-2021)
Dr. Cristina Meneguello (UNICAMP, Brazil)
Communication of science is no longer restricted to the natural sciences. Yet, little attention has been paid to the issues social scientists or historians face when communicating their findings. There is a general interest for history, as shown by the wide collection of newspapers and non-academic journals, “historical movies” and novels. However, the spreading of common-sense views about the historical past, as well as of deeply rooted prejudices communicated by the non-specialist media does not help to bridge the gaps between academic history and the general public. With these preoccupations in mind, a group of Brazilian historians coordinated by me created in 2008 the National Olympiads of History of Brazil, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The traditional model of scientific Olympiads was successfully adapted into the study of historical documents and images ranging from Colonial times to today, in collective activities for students from 12 to 17. The first edition took place in 2009 and today, in its 13th edition, the Olympiads bring together yearly 70 thousand students from each and every state in Brazil. Its important results in terms of public communication of science and social inclusion are remarkable.
However, during the last 2 years, with the growing right-winged tendencies in Brazilian policies, the National Olympiads of History of Brazil experienced funding difficulties and political obstacles, mainly when referring, during the tests, to questions related to gender, racism, religious intolerance and politics. In 2019, the military schools in the country were forbidden by high military command to take part in the competition; during the COVID crisis, the programme faced new difficulties.