Marcy E. Schwartz
- Associate Professor
- Rutgers University-New Brunswick
“Public Pages” studies reading programs in Latin American cities that redefine civic cultural engagement and rely on urban infrastructure. The project examines programs since 2000 in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Public reading initiatives invest in reading for social and literary value, use public space, distribute books to a mass public in unconventional areas, and encourage collective reading. To enrich human interactions in public space several cities distribute free books on public transit. Cartonera publishers bind books in reused cardboard to create inexpensive editions. Postdictatorship libraries of banned books offer public access in spaces of commemoration. Reading in Latin American urban public space responds to the wake of neoliberal economic policies and political violence to rebuild sociability and citizenship.