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Dylan Silva: Seeing Value in History

By Elan Lederman



Senior history major, Dylan Silva, battles the common cold as he works tirelessly on his

senior project. While recovering, I sat down with him to discuss his project, his upbringing, as well as his plans after college. While many college students remain unsure of their futures, Silva plans on pursuing his passion, history.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


How long have you been involved and interested in history?

My involvement in the discipline of history spans really to elementary school, like all of

us public school goers. With studying explorers like Christopher Columbus or Jacques Cartier, the American colonies, conquistadors, and various empires, just to name a few. My interest in history, however, also spans from that time as well. I have always enjoyed the times of before and felt a deep connection to the past, whether it be my own, in terms of family, or just the simple reading of various histories that sparks an old-world interest into the mentalities, ethics, moralities, and other philosophies and beliefs ranging from architecture, fashion, and manners.


Does history play a role in your familial upbringing?

Yes, to a certain degree, it does play a role in my familial upbringing. I have family

members who have always been interested in history, in particular, my grandmother and

grandfather on my mother’s side. They would always have the History Channel on discussing either Hitler, Stalin, various wars, or American politics among other things. Also, the discussions, not just of specified history that we all seem to be aware of, but familial history as well, played a massive role in my upbringing.


Was there any particular moment or grade you realized history was what you

wanted to pursue?

To be honest, my junior year of college was when I realized that I wanted to pursue the

discipline of history. I was attracted to the questioning, philosophy, and engagement it brings to a classroom, so I figured that it might be both a fun and very intriguing experience to go through. You are constantly learning something new every day and history has no ultimate end when studying it. It is most definitely not a stagnating field of work.


What is the theme and gist of the senior project?

The theme/gist of my senior project is discussing the motivating factors towards the end

of the Estado Novo (New State) regime under the dictatorship of Prime Minister Antonio de

Oliveira Salazar in Portugal during the decade of the 1960s up until the revolution of Carnations on April 25, 1974. It discusses and hyper-focuses on the internal turmoil of its citizens within the state instead of the international focus dealing with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations (UN), or other countries as it seems to be portrayed in numerous, worldwide sources.


How well do you think you have accomplished the portrayal of that theme/gist in

your project?

I think my attempt at a topic so massive with an overwhelming amount of information

dealing with European politics has been quite sufficient in the sense of my attempt at condensing the subject matter as much as possible but still makes sense. However, as I do not like to boast or consider myself at this very moment as a successful and accomplished ‘historian,’ I like to think my attempt/accomplishment of the matter is one of passion and pride in the telling of a story that no-one seems to have heard of in the United States.


Take me through your project and what parts of it are notable and significant.

Well, my project is divided into three sections or chapters, if you will. My first section

discusses the state of the Estado Novo during the 1960s. The second section discusses the role of the infamous (International and State Defense Police) PIDE of Portugal that replicate the German Gestapo/the Nazism of Hitler’s Third Reich. The last section discusses the African colonial wars, specifically the war in Guinea-Bissau under the command of Governor Antonio de Spinola who acted as a main contributor to the Carnation Revolution of 1974. However, my project, since European politics is so immense and quite difficult to grasp, consists of numerous notable/significant events.


Where and what will you do after the project as well as senior year?

I am still in the process of figuring out if I would like either a master’s in history or

education, so I have to find out first what complies with (New York State) NYS requirements. Hopefully, if the project is successful and I finally graduate, I plan on attending the (Long Island University) LIU extension on SUNY Purchase’s campus to obtain a master’s in education that will take about a year or two to complete and then hopefully obtain a high-school world history teaching job either in my hometown or around the area of Westchester County.



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