FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Estudos Literários

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos Linguísticos e Literários - CELL web page: www.cell.ualg.pt [LIT-Algarve-Faro-735] visitada em 06/02/2008

Classificação: Fair

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

The Centre for Linguistic and Literary Studies (CELL) at the University of the Algarve in Faro began activity in January 2004 with ten principal investigators distributed into three research lines. One research line was eliminated at the end of 2005 and the Centre now houses two research lines in the areas of Rhetoric, Criticism and Literary Theory Studies and Language and Literature Didactics. The first of these lines has recently changed its name to Comparative Literature and Literary Studies. According the Centre’s website, this line counts ten senior researchers and is divided into two research topics (Identidades e Diferenças Europeias e Extra-Europeias no Plano Literário e Cultural and Comparatismo e Literaturas de Língua Portuguesa). The second research line counts four senior researchers. In the report delivered during the site visit, CELL’s director informed the panel of the admission of four new PhD researchers. While several graduate students were present at the site visit, they are not identified as non-PhD collaborators on the FCT report. That report does note that 12 MA theses have been completed since 2003, and one PhD thesis has also been completed. On the CELL web page twenty-three collaborators are mentioned, although their names are not listed.


2. DECLARED OBJECTIVES

The overall objectives declared by CELL during the presentation and in the report are to conduct and develop interdisciplinary research in the areas of comparative literature and in Portuguese and Lusophone literary studies, linguistics, and the teaching of literature. To develop and stimulate research along these lines, the Centre’s activities are divided into the two lines described above.
The research line in Literary Studies is divided into two tasks, the first of which is dedicated to European and non-European Identities and Differences. This group, comprised of four researchers, mostly works on Portuguese, Spanish and French literature and culture. It also includes a component on Translation Studies and Rhetoric. The second task pursues comparative research in the literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. It counts three researchers who are mainly interested in topics arising from postmodernism and postcolonial studies, although it also includes a declared interest in the poetics of the bucolic.
The research line in the Teaching of Language and Literature has six declared objectives that include a description of canon formation in the teaching of Portuguese literature, the study of students’ metalinguistic awareness and reading strategies, and the study of the impact of biological and social factors on students’ literacy and linguistic competence. This line also includes a future project on multiculturalism and multilingualism in the Algarve.


3. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

According to the description included in CELL’s report to the FCT, the centre’s administrative structure is divided into four distinct parts that are responsible for coordination, management, research and consultation. Coordination of the centre’s activities falls to the Scientific Council that is led by the Scientific Coordinator. Every PhD member of the Centre is a member of the Scientific Council, which is responsible for the creation and extinction of research lines, as well as for planning and reporting on research activities. Each research line is supervised by a senior researcher who is responsible for the development of the line’s activities. There is an Executive Council that is in charge of managing the centre’s funds. It is comprised of two nominated members and is presided over by CELL’s coordinator. Additionally, there is an administrative unit, referred to as Secretary Office (Secretariado), staffed by available administrative and technical personnel, and the General Assembly, which includes every member and collaborator in the Unit.


4. PRODUCTIVITY

4.1PUBLICATIONS

The details of publications, conference organization and participation as well as the production of MA and PhD theses are listed in the Centre’s report to the FCT. While the number of monographs and articles produced by both research lines is satisfactory, it should be noted that most publications have appeared in conference proceedings and national journals and it is not clear how many of these publications were peer reviewed. One member of the Centre has published several books in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In the reports on publications from both research lines, several of the publications listed are authored by researchers who are no longer identified as group members. This is presumably because these researchers were affiliated with the third thematic group of the Literature line that was extinguished in 2005 and the authors are no longer active members of the Centre. At the same time, several PhD researchers listed in the FCT report have no publications listed.
Both the FCT report and the site visit confirmed plans to launch a journal with an international editorial board. Also mentioned during the site visit were plans to translate and publish French and English novels, and to publish bilingual editions of Portuguese literature in Bulgarian for students of Portuguese in that country.


4.2 TRAINING

As a small and relatively new Centre, it is not surprising that CELL has produced relatively few MA and PhD theses. Still, the group has done a good job of training MA students (12 theses completed, with only two in the area of linguistics), and it has produced one PhD thesis. At the site visit, members mentioned that there are presently two PhD students at work on theses in the area of translation. The lack of scholarship support for graduate students was also discussed at the site visit and several of the graduate students interviewed explained that they were forced to work at teaching jobs outside the university while also writing their theses.

4.3 ACADEMIC EVENTS

While Centre members were active in many events held at other Portuguese institutions, only one or two conferences or meetings were held at the University of the Algarve in the period 2004-2007. These were a conference on cinema and literature organized in 2005 by the now extinct research line, and a conference on secondary school literature programs that was hosted by the Language and Teaching research line in 2004.


4.4 OUTREACH

Several of the senior researchers listed for this Centre have academic appointments at other universities (the University of the Azores and the University of Warsaw). At the site visit, the senior researchers present also mentioned links and collaboration with colleagues working in Lisbon, Porto and Aveiro. This is further confirmed in their report on publications. Internationally, the Centre’s strongest links are with colleagues in Eastern Europe—in Bulgaria, Poland and Hungry.


5. MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

This is a very small Centre with a fairly simple and transparent management structure. It appears to work well, allowing all senior researchers associated with the Centre a voice in the development of research lines. During the site visit, several questions arose in regard to the Centre’s relationship to the university and the institutional support that it has received. At present, the centre is housed in a room in the library that contains computers and desks. Shortly, however, the university’s administration (the Reitoria) will take over this space. While a new space has been promised to the Centre, it has yet to be identified and several members expressed their unease with this situation.


6. FUTURE PLANNING

The future planning for this unit that has been incorporated into the report to the FCT describes the publications that the Centre’s two research lines expect to produce in the period 2007-2010. However, more detailed consideration should be given to strategies designed to increase the researchers’ international profile and more of these publications should be geared toward appearing in international, peer-reviewed journals. This is a small centre, so it would be counter-productive to create new research lines; rather avenues for a more synergetic relationship between the existing lines should be explored. Presently, there also appears to be little collaboration between the two research lines housed in the Centre. As the future research objectives of the group in the Teaching of Language and Literature touch upon topics related to Second Language Acquisition, multilingualism and multiculturalism, and the newly renamed Comparative Literature and Literary Theory line lists translations studies and issues of European, African and Latin American identity as a priority, it would be fruitful to identify avenues of collaboration that would more effectively link the two lines.


7. REGIONAL ROLE

As the only FCT-funded language and literature studies centre in the southern region of Portugal, the CELL has very important regional role. It can act as an important mediator between secondary schools, polytechnics and other cultural entities in the region. While this role was not emphasized in the report to the FCT, it became quite apparent during the site visit. As many of the graduate students associated with the Centre work outside the University, the centre often functions as their only tie to a post-secondary academic research environment. The Centre likewise acts as a liaison to a community that, for geographical reasons, is fairly isolated from established centres of national culture.


8. NATIONAL INTEREST

The interdisciplinary and comparative work carried out at the CELL give this centre a national profile. Researchers affiliated with CELL have established contacts with colleagues in Évora, Lisbon, and Vila Real. As a small centre, CELL would certainly benefit from seeking to establish more formal relationships with other national research units.


9. INTERNATIONAL PROFILE

Several researchers affiliated with the Centre currently maintain formal and informal ties with international institutions and with individuals working at foreign universities. Attempts should be made to expand international networks and collaborations. The Centre will also need to rethink its publication strategy to place greater emphasis on publication in international, peer-reviewed journals.


10.DISTINCTIVE FEATURES AND ADDED VALUE

As mentioned in point 7 (Regional Role) this is the only FCT-funded Centre that is located south of Lisbon. The CELL can and should exercise a leadership role in the southern region. While the research conducted at the CELL should not necessarily adhere to strict regionalist paradigms, several of its projects already make use of the Centre’s unique position. Closer collaboration between the two research lines in projects pertaining to migration, multilingualism and multiculturalism may result in the identification of shared research topics that, while not unique to the region, can be enriched when examined through a lens that pays close attention to the Centre’s unique positioning.


11.GRADING OF CENTRE AND EVALUATIVE STATEMENT

The Centre for Linguistic and Literary Studies received the overall rating of fair.This is a small research unit that is comparatively new and has limited resources. As a result, it has undergone a unique set of pressures as its members have set about establishing a research agenda. Since the Centre’s founding, several senior researchers have left and a fairly productive research line was closed. The investigators who remain affiliated with the CELL have done a good job of identifying pertinent research topics, but some prioritization seems in order. The number of objectives identified for the line in Comparative Literature and Literary Studies may be too numerous and dispersed in topic for such a small group, leading to a situation that hinders collaboration amongst colleagues in a single line, as well as between the two existing lines.


12.RECOMMENDATIONS

i) To target productive research themes so as to emphasize what is convincing and distinctive about this centre’s interdisciplinary work

ii) To explore the interdependency of the centre’s two existing research lines

iii) To develop a permanent collaborative doctoral seminar program together with, or as part of, the programs in other centres

iv) To continue and enhance outreach to local schools, cultural organizations and polytechnics

v) To reconsider the goal of establishing an international journal at this time, given the limited resources of the Centre and taking into account that a relatively large number of national journals affiliated with research centres that have recently appeared throughout Portugal

vi) To improve international publications

vii) To strengthen and formalize relationships with national/international institutions and universities
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Didáctica das Línguas e das Literaturas [RG-LIT-Algarve-Faro-735-628]
Estudos Literários e Comparados (Comparative and Literature Studies) [RG-LIT-Algarve-Faro-735-627]