FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Estudos Literários

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura [LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126] visitada em 07/02/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Catholic University’s Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura (CECC) is a new constellation forged in 2007 by subsuming the Centre for Portuguese and Brazilian Literature and Culture (CLCPB), the Research Centre for Culture, Language and Literature (CECLL), and its own immediate predecessor the Research Centre for Communication Sciences. CECC is housed in the Faculdade de Ciencias Humanas (FCH), a young faculty, principally with an undergraduate teaching mission. The consolidation of these centres in CECC is part of a strategic decision to enhance the research and teaching profile of FCH and to move toward postgraduate education, a process that the university began as early as 1991. CECC currently consists of 76 participants––33 senior researchers with Ph.D.s, 34 Ph.D. students, and 5 “other collaborators.” Some senior and junior researchers collaborate in more than one project.


2. DECLARED OBJECTIVES

The declared aims of the CECC are:

i) To promote, coordinate and support lines and projects of research in the areas of culture studies, communication sciences, translation studies, language studies and literary studies;

ii)To support the training and specialization of researchers in the scientific areas with which it is concerned;

iii) To promote activities within a privileged relationship with the different research and teaching units of the Catholic University of Portugal and in particular the School of Human Sciences (FCH);

iv) To encourage exchange with other scientific and cultural institutions in Portugal and abroad;

v) To organize and collaborate in congresses, colloquia, seminars, specialist courses, scientific meetings and cycles of conferences;

vi) To promote and support the publication of the results of the research undertaken, and any works of interest for the development of its activity;

vii) To publish a scientific journal – “Comunicação & Cultura” (Communication and Culture) – with peer review.


3. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

The new CECC, as of 2007, consists of four principal research lines: 1) Media and Modernity (with 4 projects), 2) Technology and Communication (with 4 projects), 3) Culture and Conflict (with 3 projects), and 4) Translating Europe Across the Ages (with 3 projects). These research lines are articulated to four graduate programs of the Faculdade de Ciencias Humanas, namely, the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences, the M.A. in Cultural Studies, the M.A. in Translation and Comparative Cultures, and the M.A. in Communication Sciences.
The re-structured CECC was registered as a new Unit with FCT on 15 May 2007. It is administered by a Scientific Coordinator, A Board of Directors consisting of the coordinator of each of the four research lines, and a Scientific Board comprised of all the participating Ph.D.-holding researchers. In addition, CECC has an external Advisory Board that consists of five distinguished academics of high international visibility from the University of Chicago, the University of California, San Diego, the Frei Universität zu Berlin, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Zurich.


4. PRODUCTIVITY

4.1 PUBLICATIONS

Even prior to its official consolidation into its current structure, CECC published the proceedings of a number of highly visible international conferences––1) the September 2006 conference held in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes on the “Spanish Civil War: Crossing Frontiers 70 Years Later”; 2) the international colloquium on translation and censorship “Tradução e Censura: Colóquio Internacional.”
CECC’s periodical Comunicação e Cultura, a semi-annual journal published its first four issues during the biennium 2006-2007.
For a transitional period of structural re-organization, this is an impressive achievement that promises to consolidate the publication activities of the Unit, giving greater impetus to the sustainability of CECC in its new configuration.


4.2. TRAINING

CECC currently supervises the work of 21 Ph.D. students in training, some of whom participate in more than one research line or project, bringing the total number of participating researchers in-training to 34. This is an impressive level of training and speaks to the success of the re-configured Unit’s efforts to integrate its research program with the doctoral and Masters’ graduate programs of the relevant departments in the university’s FCH.
CECC has joined the Hermes Network in conjunction with the doctoral program of the Centro de Estudos Comparatistas of the University of Lisbon. CECC has integrated its Ph.D. students into the collaborative efforts of this international network.
In collaboration with the Annenberg School of Communications of the University of Pennsylvania, CECC held a Summer school in July 2007 on political visibility and the invisibility of Portugal’s past and present. Ten students from the Universidade Católica were joined by five students from the Annenberg School for this Summer Culture Graduate Program.
In 2006, CECC also signed a protocol for collaborative training in the area of Translation Studies with the Centro de Estudos Anglísticos of the University of Lisbon.


4.3. ACADEMIC EVENTS

CECC has already held a number of conferences in its new administrative structure. In addition to the conference on the “Spanish Civil War: Crossing Frontiers 70 Years Later” and the international colloquium on translation and censorship “Tradução e Censura: Colóquio Internacional,” whose actas have already been published (see 4.1, above), CECC held an international colloquium, “Baudelaire and the Posterities of the Modern,” in November 2006 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Charles Baudelaire’s Les fleurs de mal.


5. MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

The organizational flow chart of CECC would indicate a very clear management structure. The incorporation of the research line coordinators as constitutive of its governing Board of Directors should yield a fully integrated management structure with optimal internal communication in setting the Unit’s collective agenda and in decision making. The evaluation panel was impressed by this highly inclusive management strategy, which extends from the most senior members of the research team to the postgraduate students.


6. FUTURE PLANNING

CECC’s most recent re-structuring is clear indication of a fully deliberate management strategy based on the academic strengths and research agendas of the Unit’s constitutive parts. No doubt, on-going self-monitoring in this process will optimize the results of the re-organization, though some refinements in the configuration of the Unit still need to be pursued (q.v. 11. Recommendations, infra).


6.1 INTELLECTUAL CONTENT AND STRATEGY

The structural realignment of CECC is driven by an intellectual agenda of a high order. There is a deliberate attempt to integrate the human resources and particular expertise of the Universidade Católica with the stated goals for the research and training missions of the Unit. It is important that the current strategy continue to evaluate the particular foci of each of the Research Groups and how the research lines pursued by these 4 Groups can optimally complement each other.


6.2 INTELLECTUAL COGENCY

The intellectual cogency in CECC is clearly aimed at achieving the synergetic interaction of its 4 research lines. There is a concerted attempt to coordinate these synergies with the pedagogy and training, as well as the enhancement of the international profile of the Unit. In this regard, some further reconsideration might be necessary to ensure the complementarity, rather than redundancy of some of the Research Groups and their aims. (See, Recommendations).


6.3 ORGANIZATIONAL COHERENCE

The organizational coherence of CECC is obviously at the forefront of the leadership’s concerns, especially at this stage of restructuring. As with the intellectual cogency of these realignments, organizational coherence can be more effectively maximized by complementary diversification than by homologated integration. Thus, an alertness to the difference between cohesion by virtue of similitude and coherence by reason of complementarity, which entails variety and differentials, is indispensable to the stated goals of the Unit and the leadership should bear this in mind.


6.4 LEADERSHIP AND CONTINUITY

CECC’s leadership and its managerial modus operandi, its intellectual vision and determination to achieve the collective aims of the unit are quite admirable. The likelihood of success and sustainability at this level is quite high. All indications are that CECC is ensured of effective leadership for the foreseeable future.


7. REGIONAL ROLE

As part of Portugal’s leading Catholic University and one of the more highly developed institutions of higher learning, CECC can exercise a leadership role in the central region and in the capital of the country. Its inter-university collaborations in the central region are already noteworthy.


8. NATIONAL INTEREST

CECC’s research and training agendas focus on the public sphere by virtue of being concerned with media, informatics, public communications and political discursive formations. By virtue of these intellectual aims, CECC already positions itself to play a key role, even if purely diagnostic, of the national commonweal and Portugal’s place in the world. The Unit has the potential to take an active role on some national issues, rather than a purely academic and diagnostic one.


9. INTERNATIONAL PROFILE

CECC, though a recent structural formation, is already well on the way to projecting an international profile and establishing a wide network. Its collaboration with FCT-funded Units at the University of Lisbon and, through those links, connection with European institutions such as HERMES is a good indication of the international aims of CECC. The cooperation for the Summer Culture Graduate Program with the Annenberg School of Communications of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the joint conference with the Instituto Cervantes clearly indicate the international goals of CECC. The international range of topics and the transnational origin of participants in the conferences held thus far are likewise an indicator of the CECC’s extramural reach. The research lines of the Unit are inherently international in their intellectual agendas. These goals should be enhanced by the caliber of the international advisory board, whose composition could be diversified even further.
CECC has established a working relationship with a number of highly regarded institutions––the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania; the Doctoral Program in Communication and Culture at Indiana University; the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Literature, Communication and Culture; the University of Toronto Institute of Communication and Culture; the Escola de Comunicação da UFRJ, Brasil; the Centre de Recherche en Culture et Communication, Université Paris 8, Nanterre; the Department of Communication and Culture, New York University; the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Kulturwissenschaftliches Seminar; and the Institut für Medien, Informations, und Kulturwissenschaft, Universität Regensburg. This is an impressive list of collaborative networking. There is, however, a certain homogeneity that does not accurately reflect the more diversified goals or constituency of CECC as currently reconstituted research Unit. Nor is it congruent with the clearly stated aims of CECC. (See Recommendations, below).


10. DISTINCTIVE FUTURES AND ADDED VALUE

CECC’s grounding in the Catholic University, a national and not just a metropolitan institution with a prominent international profile, gives the research agenda and intellectual concerns of its Research Groups and their projects a particular edge. Being concerned with technologies of communication ultimately means being focused on the contemporary modes of community and social communion. The research line focused on Culture and Conflict is especially apt in this regard, inasmuch as conflict resolution could be especially central to the mission of a Catholic institution and its research interests. In this regard, scholarly diagnoses can find much-needed worldly applications, and intellectual insight can become effective social and international practice. CECC and its distinguished team have great potential in this regard.


11. GRADING OF CENTRE AND EVALUATIVE STATEMENT

Evaluation of CECC, given its recent reformation as a research unit, has to be based on the potential of its proposals for future projects, on the caliber of its personnel and vision of its leadership. Based on these criteria, as well as on the past record of achievements under different administrative configuration, CECC should be considered as an excellent Unit.


12. RECOMMENDATIONS

CECC’s clearly stated aims (particularly numbers 1 and 3 above, at “2. Declared Objectives”) present a particularly significant opportunity and a challenge that the leadership and governing board obviously appreciate in their proactive restructuring of the Unit. The challenge consists in harmonizing apparent incommensurables; the opportunity, likewise, consists in the same task: the integration of technologies and formative structures of communication, on the one hand, and, on the other, cultural uses of language which are deliberately and by elaborate design neither instrumental nor intended for the pragmatics of communication, namely, literature. The administrative team of CECC appears to be appreciative of the inevitable problematics that result from conjugating Communication as techno-scientific complex and Culture as problematic praxis. Great efforts have clearly been made to achieve some equilibrium between the often incongruous elements of Communications and Culture. This will clearly require an ongoing effort. As of this evaluation, the organizational factors and the strategic parameters defining the direction and modes of meeting the Unit’s stated objectives, particularly numbers 1 and 3, tend to tilt the disequilibrium toward the positivities of the technological or scientific order. The messier and more volatile quotient of this delicate balance, namely, Culture, seems to be dealt with by being framed within the more easily definable parameters of the techno-scientific, hence, the character of the extramural and international institutional affiliations, and the profile of the external advisory board, as well as the tenor of the institutional discourse for self-definition as a research Unit.
All beginnings need a certain palpable cogency and uniformity for a common point of departure. This, and the transference of organizational elements already pre-existing the new configuration of the Unit perhaps explain the apparent homogeneity and, in certain cases, a certain overlap or redundancy, e.g., research line 1 and line 2.

i) It is recommended that the CECC leadership and governing board continue to review the configuration of the Unit’s research lines with an eye to mitigating redundancy and optimizing diversification and complementarity.

ii) Review the profile of institutional affiliates, as well as of international advisory board, with an eye to attaining greater variation in order to optimize the possibilities of meeting the stated goals of CECC as it is now re-configured.

iii) Consider how the institutional profile and intellectual agenda of CECC as a pivotal discursive locus in the university and how it negotiates the intricate relationship, historical and future-oriented, between the humanistic and the scientific in the designation “Human Sciences,” the name of the Faculty of which it is a part.


iv) Caught in culture’s translational ratios of technologies of communication and cultural praxes, CECC might consider a transversal discussion among all its research lines and projects on the relationship between communications and communion, between technologies of informatic production and aesthetics of literary and cultural reproduction.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Connecting Waters. Cultural Hybridity and Dialogue in Maritime Interaction [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2582]
Culture and Conflict [RG-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2599]
Culture and Society in the Thinking of Padre Sena Freitas (1840-1913) [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2514]
Cycle of Conferences [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2502]
Language Minorities and Cultural Identities [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2592]
Literary History and Translations. Representations of the Other in Portuguese Culture [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2477]
Media and Modernity [RG-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2593]
Modern Mobilities and Cultural Interaction: Living with the Mobile [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2585]
New York - from Topos to Utopos [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2591]
Padre António Vieira [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2498]
Pedro Hispano Portugalense: As Summulae Logicales [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2501]
Precritical Kant [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2506]
Publications [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2504]
Technology and Communication [RG-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2596]
Tekné - Gender and Technology: Constructing Identity Trough the Media [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2583]
The In-the-Worldness of New Technologies: An Investigation into the Fundamental Meanings of Contemporary Information and Communication Technologies [RG-X-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2589]
Translating Europe Across the Ages [RG-LIT-LVT-Lisboa-126-2600]