Is There a Trend Towards Internationalization in Portuguese Historiography?

Diogo Ramada Curto
3 páginas

The internationalization of Portuguese historiography has been a militant topic for historians of my generation. Rather than describing the ways of exercising this militancy – well perceived by Jean-Fréderic Schaub in his contribution to this issue – one should start by asking: why has it historically been such an important issue? My first answer would be to relate it to the existence of a generation gap between the historians who are now in their forties, and an older generation in their eighties and nineties, represented by Vitorino Magalhães Godinho and the now deceased Charles Boxer. When we completed our degrees at the beginning of the 1980s, we started to lecture and develop our graduate research almost immediately. The opportunity to start an early career gave our generation the experience and a level of self-assurance which were in correspondence with the demographic explosion of the university system after the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. But at the same time we were all still reproducing habits and ideas of social status and individual authority traditionally ascribed to the Portuguese university professor. Godinho provided supervision to a small group of people. His age reinforced the sense of distance between us, adding to the respect that we all accorded his intelligence and charismatic personality. Simultaneaously, however, this distance gave us an opportunity to challenge him, as we referred to authors and arguments that he could not control, sometimes in a very provocative way. I worked with him myself, and benefited from his extensive international experience and encyclopedic knowledge. However, this experience of close collaboration between our group and Godinho cannot be generalized.