Interview and Tribute to Charles Pessanha [Originally published in DADOS’ blog in January/2020]

Charles Pessanha is not only a key name in the history of DADOS, but also in the Brazilian scientific publishing body as a whole. In 2019, our former Editor-in-Chief and active Editor Emeritus was doubly honored, first with an interview to the organizing team for the celebrations of the 50 years of IESP-UERJ (Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) graduate studies and, second, with the ANPOCS (Associação Nacional de Pós-graduaçāo em Ciências Sociais) Award for Academic Excellence Gildo Marçal Brandão in Political Science. Up next, there is a video of Charles’ interview and a complete transcript of the speech that Breno Bringel – current Associate Editor and former Editor-in-Chief of DADOS – delivered at the ceremony held in October 2019 at ANPOCS. We hope that not only Charles’s role will continue to serve as an example for all of us, but that his work as Editor Emeritus of DADOS will endure for many more years to come.

Luiz Augusto Campos (Editor-in-chief)

Delivery speech at the “ANPOCS Award for Academic Excellence Gildo Marçal Brandão in Political Science” to Charles Pessanha
Caxambu (MG), October 21, 2019, Glória Hotel

By Breno Bringel (Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)

Good night, everyone! I am very honored to grant our dear Charles Pessanha the ANPOCS (Associação Nacional de Pós-graduaçāo em Ciências Sociais) Award for Academic Excellence in Political Science. What can I say about Charles Pessanha that you don’t already know? Charles is an avis rara.

In an academy steeped in egos, power disputes and conflicts, Charles is perhaps one of the few consensuses among us. His serenity, transparency and delicate assertiveness make him “no pierda la ternura jamás” (“never lose his tenderness”) even when we are facing the most serious issues and the most delicate moments, as is the case today. In an academia full of harassment, fights between groups, humiliation and small (and large) exchanges of favors, the trajectory of Charles Pessanha shows that it is possible to sail against the wind: with affection, humbleness, generosity and solidarity.

But there is another exceptional fact about Charles that you may not know. He is one of the few people I know who continue to root for América Futebol Clube. América is a centennial association, founded in 1904. And if I remember correctly, the last important title of this team from Grande Tijuca was in 1962…

This is no reason for Charles to stop being at America’s side. To raise its flag and wear its red jersey. Here is another important teaching from Master Pessanha: let us support and defend that and those we believe in, not the victorious or the fad preachers (be they academic, political or in sports).

Two years after that America Futebol Clube title, in 1964, we know well what happened in Brazil. It is important to remember not to repeat it. Since then, Charles has never stopped wearing the red jersey. I am not referring, of course, only to America’s jersey, but to that of the struggle against dictatorship, censorship, repression and all forms of oppression.

Like many of his generation, his academic training was also marked by the political struggles of that time, which prevents us from talking about obvious or linear trajectories. He graduated in Social Sciences at Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in 1968, a symbolic year of student and popular uprisings around the world, but also of the regime’s upsurge in Brazil. Then, in the following decades, he obtained a master’s degree in Political Science at the former Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro – IUPERJ (now Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – IESP-UERJ) and a doctorate, also in Political Science, at Universidade de São Paulo (USP).

In 1974, Charles started working as a professor at Universidade Cândido Mendes and two years later he took up the position that many of you still associate him with today: Editor of the journal DADOS. He remained in this role for almost four decades, until 2012, when I took over as Editor and had the huge pleasure of spending more time with Charles. I never thought about staying forty years in the journal, but we had together six intense (and difficult) years in the editorial management, which is currently very well led by Luiz Augusto Campos, who could well stay at least twenty more years. The longevity and success of DADOS was undoubtedly due to the institutional support of IUPERJ and IESP, after that, but above all to the dedicated and serious work of our honoree, a pioneer in the professionalization of journals in our country.

However, Charles Pessanha’s contribution went far beyond DADOS, of which he is now Editor Emeritus. Charles was a key player in the creation of the main scientific dissemination institutions in the last decades in Brazil, with emphasis on the Brazilian Association of Scientific Editors (Associação Brasileira de Editores Científicos, ABEC), founded in 1985, of which he was the first and until now the only president of the Social Sciences area; and the SciELO platform, known to all, of which Charles was one of the founders in the mid-1990s.

Moreover, he was the creator and first editor of Boletim Informativo e Bibliográfico de Ciências Sociais (BIB), an ANPOCS publication created shortly after the foundation of the association in 1977 in the former IUPERJ, initially as a supplement od DADOS. At a time of institutionalization of the Social Sciences, BIB played an important role in stimulating cooperation between graduate programs and, therefore, Charles, with the collaboration of Lucia Lippi and other colleagues involved in this endeavor, contributed in a decisive manner for the development of ANPOCS. Nevertheless, he actively collaborated in the creation and professionalization of some of the main scientific journals in our respective disciplines, although not exclusively.

By not seeking to favor a group, a journal or a perspective, Charles has become a protagonist of Social Sciences in Brazil in recent decades. And if, unfortunately, the general rule in Brazil is having researchers who occupy the editor position in a precarious and temporary way, Charles became a professional editor and dean of scientific dissemination in the country, but also a professor dedicated to his students and a researcher with notable studies, mainly on the relationship between the executive and the legislature branches and on the control of the judiciary, many of which are presented in the ANPOCS itself.

In these times of darkness and dismantling, this award is not only a recognition of a unique trajectory dedicated to Social Sciences and scientific dissemination, but also a call for us to learn from Charles’ contributions: treat our journals in a more impartial and professional way; let’s think broadly and not only from departmental logics; let’s articulate a resistance unity and solidarity; let’s be creative in order to build an intellectual response to today’s barbarism from the Social Sciences, as Charles recently stated. Congratulations and thank you, Charles.

External links


DADOS – Revista de Ciências Sociais <>

Original article in Portuguese

Translated from the original in Portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

DADOS - REVISTA DE CIÊNCIAS SOCIAIS. Interview and Tribute to Charles Pessanha [Originally published in DADOS’ blog in January/2020] [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2020 [viewed ]. Available from:


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