The Name of the Game; or What’s in a Name: Teaching, Research and Critical Agendas in the “Internationalization” of “Portuguese Historiography”

Abdool Karim Vakil
4 páginas

After Rui Santos’s commendably heroic attempt to move the discussion onto the surer footed ground of facts and figures, my contribution may well strike a little like a spanner thrown into the works. But like Schaub and Ramada Curto I think that a biographical note of contextualization is here pertinent and like Costa Pinto, though somewhat more indulgently, I find anecdotal remarks from the field uniquely telling. Moreover, and to introduce a pedantic note all of my own, I am not convinced that either of the terms “Portuguese historiography” or “internationalization”, upon which the discussion centres, are being used with anything like a clear or unproblematic sense. Indeed, reading the meaning of internationalization oppositionally, off the multitude of sins that in the various contributions is described as the condition of its lack, internationalization seems at times to mean little more than publishing in English and at others nothing other than professionalism, scholarship, accountability and standards. Portuguese historiography, in turn, appears to range in meaning from historical research and writing authored by historians in Portuguese institutions, historical research on Portugal (wherever and whoever by), through to an almost hegemonic reading of world history as Portuguese history (I am uneasy, for example, with Jorge Pedreira’s reference to Alpers’ work as concerned with the ‘history of Portugal and her empire’. Unlike, say, David Birmingham and others of his generation who did come to write on the history of Portugal from an engagement with Portuguese Africa and the colonial wars, Alper’s engagement with the Portuguese colonial context in Mozambique is incidental to his study of African history in the East African and Indian Ocean context. This is a distinction that, it seems to me, is worth making).