Friday, September 3, 2010

Archivista Superstar

I am aghast (in a good way!) that the general public knows what an archivist does in Bolivia. Seriously. Back in the States, I was often met with clueless expressions when asked my profession. Hemming and hawing, I often have to explain that archiving has nothing to do with architecture (although I am married to an architect, so in my case, the 2 professions share a tax return) and is a branch of librarianship. And that it requires a Master´s degree.  At which point, the clueless person has disengaged and informed me that librarians "just read books" all day. And then I get annoyed and consider telling these sorts of folk in the future that I actually make my money as a Real Housewife on Bravo.

In a pleasant  contrast, seemingly everybody I have met in La Paz actually knows and understands what an archivist does. I think that this has to do with the Bolivian respect for cogent cultural history. With a combination of the history of post colonialism plus various political regimes plus the plurality of native cultures, Bolivians understand the need to be aware of their national and political identity both of the past and going forward.

And who knows if this has anything to do with it, but overall Bolivians are not a people heavily involved in celebrity worship (either their own or imported ones). As a result, people seem to be less impressed with seemingly glamorous lines of work, and more impressed with hard work regardless of the title. This in turn impresses me a great deal!

No comments:

Post a Comment