TECOP. Texts and Contexts of Portuguese Orientalism - The International Congresses of Orientalists (1873-1973)
The TECOP project focuses on the study of Portuguese Orientalism within a comparative and interdisciplinary framework. It seeks to give visibility to the Portuguese orientalists taking part in the International Congresses of Orientalists and to reconstruct the cultural, intellectual, and/or scientific networks formed via their participation in these congresses and in the scientific societies that supported them. From 1873 to 1973, there were officially 29 meetings. 24 took place in Europe against five meetings in extra-European cities gathering researchers from across the continents to debate the oriental studies practised especially in Europe and the USA.
The scant critical literature on these congresses and on the Portuguese participation, in particular the invisibility of Portugal in the historiographical discourse, shows that such issue has been peripheral. As an innovative research line we propose to transfer it from the periphery to the centre of the academic debate, thus contributing to the reconfiguration of the knowledge produced by the orientalist intelligentsia of European matrix, which Portugal was part of, and filling in the gap with regard to its comprehension and history. It seeks simultaneously to restore the key role Portugal played in the genealogy of oriental studies.
The importation and production of knowledge supporting Portuguese Orientalism, as well as the impact of the cultural, intellectual, and/or scientific networks by the Portuguese orientalists are yet to analyse. One needs to clarify the institutional implication of the orientalists involved in the congresses and how it influenced their textual production, thereby shaping the theoretical, aesthetical, ideological framework of Portuguese Orientalism. The research team was gathered within this interdisciplinary logic, visible in the research practice already developed. It is epistemologically coherent and the researchers’ profiles include Literary Studies, Comparative Studies, Translation Studies, History, Anthropology, Philosophy. Literary Studies – within the culturalist approach as pioneered by the comparatism practised at CEC – are the right place to develop this project.
In Portugal, Portuguese Orientalism as a curricular and research area is recent, and the outputs to achieve will contribute to its development.
- To inquire into Portuguese Orientalism as a discipline whose emergence dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century and of which the International Congresses of Orientalists are symptomatic;
- To reconstruct the biobibliographical profiles of the Portuguese orientalists who took part in these scientific events;
- To map the cultural, intellectual, and/or scientific networks in which the participants operated to outline interpersonal networks and influences in European and extra-European societies;
- To deepen the theoretical, aesthetical, ideological framework of Portuguese Orientalism by making available sources documenting the network activities of the Portuguese orientalists and by discussing and defining fundamental concepts supporting Portuguese Orientalism as a national and international phenomenon;
- To identify imagetic and lexico-semantic relations inherent to the Portuguese orientalists’ written production within the context of the International Congresses of Orientalists, and to deconstruct the metaphorical, metonymic, symbolic networks and rhetorical-stylistic binarisms underlying the discourse of Portuguese Orientalism;
- To elaborate a typology of models of orientalist writing and to map an orientalist ethos;
- To account for the build-up of a Portuguese orientalist intelligentsia of European matrix (1873-1973).