María del Carmen Rovira Gaspar, emeritus professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who contributed decisively to institutionalize the history of Mexican philosophy, died on Sunday in Mexico City at the age of 98.
Daughter of the engineer Miguel Rovira, a member of the PSOE, and Mercedes Gaspar, she was born in Huelva on July 27, 1923. She lived in the Andalusian city until the end of 1934, studied at the Colegio del Santo Ángel and had a childhood always remembered in time Present. He counted on the vigor of his word and the liveliness of his eyes that looked at his interlocutor so that he would keep his attention intact.
Subsequently, the family resided in Madrid until 1938. Then began a painful journey that passed through Barcelona, Paris and Le Havre, where the family began the journey to New York. From there to Mexico, the capital of the country that welcomed so many exiles. They arrived on May 13, 1939.
Since then, Carmen Rovira developed her life in Mexico. He completed his studies at the Academia Hispano-Mexicana, characterized by having “close ties with Mexican personalities and not being exclusively a stronghold of refugees.” In 1945, she joined the UNAM, an institution that has been her life and to which she has given hers.
Ten years later, he would read his master’s thesis: Portuguese Eclectics and Some Influences in America as part of José Gaos’s program. In the circle of Samuel Ramos, Leopoldo Zea, Luis Villoro and her own teacher, Carmen Rovira found historiographic elements to which she has dedicated effort, passion and knowledge until she managed to institutionalize the Seminary of Mexican Philosophy, which today has important researchers and a program consolidated.
Carmen raised a family, had three sons and a daughter, and developed her professional career with many difficulties due to the chosen philosophical orientation, contrary to the dominant orientation.
His editor recalled: “Marxist-inspired analytical philosophy and economic and social history” had captured the attention of younger philosophers. The history of ideas had stopped attracting new vocations, “except for those of some philosophers and historians who thought it necessary to continue what their teachers had started.”
Carmen Rovira has promoted the reading of the original texts, their contextualization and analysis of the consequences in the areas on which they were projected. And always supporting the formation of groups of researchers. This methodology has allowed him to recover the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, for years relegated to both Mexican and Spanish philosophical historiography.
The work of Carmen Rovira has benefited Mexican and Spanish philosophy and the Ibero-American countries, including Portugal and Brazil. Very important was the support of Ambrosio Velasco as director of the faculty at a crucial moment in his career. And always from the disciples who continue this project.
We have his doctoral thesis: Francisco de Vitoria. Spain and America. The man and the power (published in 2001), and two collections: An approach to the history of the philosophical ideas in Mexico. XIX century and principles of the XX and Mexican philosophical thought of the XIX century and first years of the XX. And dozens of articles on humanism, the period of the conquest, the Baroque and the Creole Jesuits leave an imperishable work.
Many recognitions endorse a life of study, dedication to the university and the defense of human rights, noble causes and the defense of minorities. In 2016, she received the appointment as Angel of the City: Mujeres en Libertad, awarded by Mexico City. Fortunately, she has been able to enjoy the award of the medal from the Autonomous University of Madrid, in 2019, and the appointment as Huelva’s favorite daughter, in 2020, which her daughter Paulina collected from the mayor of the Huelva capital, Gabriel Cruz.
On June 14, the Ibero-American Academy of La Rábida held a session dedicated to his life and work, chaired by Sixto Romero, professor at the University of Huelva, to which Carmen Rovira sent a recorded presentation on Ibero-American humanism that remains as a legacy .
Carmen Rovira, daughter of exile, has rendered a great service to her host country and to the homeland in which she was born. The philosophical ideas recovered are shared and their knowledge becomes essential for the construction of both nations and their mutual relations. Together with another Andalusian, Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez, he has bequeathed us imperishable political, moral and cultural values. Both shared the same dream: to unite both countries. We know that noble dreams are to be realized.
José Luis Mora García is Emeritus Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.