FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Estudos Literários

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos Humanísticos [LIT-Norte-Braga-305] visitada em 11/02/2008

Classificação: Excellent

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

Established in 1994, the Centre for Humanistic Studies (CEHUM) at the University of Minho grew out of the Centre for Portuguese Studies that was founded by Professor Aguiar e Silva in 1980. As one of the largest research centres at the University, the CEHUM currently counts 47 senior researchers and 37 doctoral candidates. Until very recently, this Unit was divided into four research lines: Literature Studies, Language Studies, Philosophy, and Cultural Studies. Beginning this year, the Philosophy and Cultural Studies lines will merge to form a single research group. A fifth line, Transdisciplinary, is comprised of the Board of directors of the CEHUM and counts 7 PhD researchers. Its aim is to bring together or bridge the other areas represented in the Centre, fostering dialogue among the units and coordinating their joint publications. The Transdisciplinary Research line is responsible for the organization of CEHUM’s annual colloquium (Colóquio do Outono); it also coordinates CEHUM’s various publications and sponsors other smaller activities such as symposia, workshops, and graduate colloquia.
The largest research line in CEHUM is Literature Studies, with 23 PhD researchers, 13 non PhD researchers, and 6 other researchers who hold a PhD. The other groups count 9 PhD researchers, and 14 non PhD researchers (Language Sciences) and 9 PhD researchers and 9 non PhD researchers (in the newly formed research line for Philosophy and Culture Sciences.
The Centre edits two monograph series (Hepérides and Poliedro) and a journal, Diacrítica. Each research unit in CEHUM contributes to this journal, alternating in the publication of special issues on topics pertaining to their respective areas of specialization. Likewise, the three (formerly four) specialized research lines share administrative responsibilities for the Centre’s library, providing suggestions for acquisitions, events and exhibits. This library has been recognized nationally for its large collection of periodicals in the Humanities.
CEHUM has received both pluriannual and programmatic funding from the FCT, as well as programmatic funding from a wide range of other sources (FLAD, Gulbenkian Foundation, Instituto Camões, etc.)


2. DECLARED OBJECTIVES

CEHUM’s declared objectives are: to expand its field of research without losing coherence; to emphasize its interdisciplinarity both nationally and internationally through the creation of research projects and publications; to increase participation in international research networks and MA and PhD programs; to organize and expand seminars, workshops, short courses and conferences within the Centre’s specific research lines and in transversal areas, to support the individual research of its members, to promote outreach activities in the Braga community, and to equip and permanently update its library.


3. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

The Centre for Humanistic Studies presently consists of four Research Groups, each headed by a principal investigator. Together with the Centre’s Director and its Adjunct Director, these Principal Investigators collectively form a management group that administers the Centre. This focal aggregate is organized into an independent research group, called the Transdisciplinary Research Group, that acts as a self-reflective focus group for the Centre whole. It works to consolidate and strengthen the coherence of the Centre’s multidisciplinary agenda and to foster dialogue among the other three research groups. The Transdisciplinary Research Group is responsible for organizing CEHUM’s annual interdisciplinary colloquium—the Colóquio de Outono.


4. PRODUCTIVITY

4.1 PUBLICATIONS

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. Responsibility for CEHUM’s journal, Diacrítica, alternates between the Centre’s three lines (Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy and Cultural Studies), thus ensuring that the work of each Research Group in the Unit is featured in the broader agora of scholarly engagement. The Unit also publishes the proceedings of its annual Colóquio de Outono and supports two monograph series. During the site visit, the Unit’s director recognized a difficulty in securing national and international distribution for its publications. Admirably, this drawback has resulted in Centre members actively seeking outlets to broaden their readership. Besides having found a well-known editor (Almedina) for national distribution, the Unit has sought out and achieved an international readership for its publications through journal exchanges.
In addition to publishing in the Centre’s own monograph series and in its journal, a significant number Centre members have published in national and international reviews and journals, many of which are peer reviewed.


4.2 TRAINING

CEHUM has produced 21 PhD theses over the past four years, with more than half in the area of Literary Studies. The 13 PhD theses currently in progress demonstrate a more even distribution among the three research areas (11 in Literature, 9 in Linguistics, and 9 in Philosophy-Culture. This subtle change in the distribution of topics bears witness to an observation made during the site visit that the Centre has begun to attract doctoral students whose research topics are more inter-or transdisciplinary.
There are four post-doctoral projects currently housed at CEHUM, two of which are/were FCT-funded.


4.3 ACADEMIC EVENTS

In addition to participating in the organization of the Colóquio de Outono, each of the research lines housed in the Centre has been responsible for the organization of a significant number of seminars and conferences. In addition, CEHUM has hosted international conferences of large organizations such as the International Meeting of Discourse Analysis (2003 and 2004) the Portuguese Association for Anglo-American Studies (2005), and the Fourth National Meeting of Teachers of Philosophy (2006). In 2008, the Centre will host the international congress of the Portuguese Association of Comparative Literature. In addition, members regularly present papers at national conferences and many also have participated actively in international conferences.


4.4 OUTREACH

Researchers associated with CEHUM have been very active in outreach activities that take place locally, nationally, and internationally.
Since 2003, the Centre has hosted a Permanent Seminar in Philosophy and Culture and sponsored the Community of Philosophy Readers that meets at a site in downtown Braga to read and discuss philosophical texts. It has also supported several seminars on translation. Information about these and other locally sponsored events is publicized in Info/CEHUM, the bi-monthly newsletter. This newsletter also lists new library acquisitions, colloquia and seminars, publications, and general news (exhibits, prizes, etc.). It is distributed widely in the university community and is also available on-line at the Unit’s web page.
Members collaborate regularly with colleagues at other Portuguese institutions and are actively involved in projects in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, the USA, and the UK.


5. MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

CEHUM is managed by a Director and an Adjunct Director who are elected to three-year terms. It also counts a librarian and other staff who assist the directors in accounting, in the organization of conferences and seminars, and the production of the Centre’s various publications. The Director serves as the Principal Investigator for the Transdisciplinary Research Group. The Adjunct Director is also a member of this research line, as are the leaders of the Centre’s three other active research lines. In total, the Transdisciplinary Research Group counts seven researchers who represent all three of the established lines. It is clear that the arrangement is working quite well, inasmuch as all participants in CEHUM, as individuals and as RGs, operate as invested stakeholders in a horizontal governance structure that is inclusive and participatory. The Centre is well-organized, well-functioning, and its leadership is successful.


6. FUTURE PLANNING

The research agenda, publishing program, and the regularly scheduled activities such as conferences and seminars lend both continuity and coherence to the operation of the CEHUM. Intellectually, the future of the Unit is on solid ground. The leadership of the Unit is likewise solid, as is the collegiality and harmonious working of the management team.
The organisational coherence of CEHUM draws great strength from the unmistakable good will among the members of its four research groups. The fact that one of these lines is dedicated to constant self-evaluation and self-reflection ensures the internal consistency that keeps the Unit operating as productively as it does.


7. REGIONAL ROLE

Located in the north of Portugal, CEHUM’S researchers and management team are aware of the importance of maintaining outreach activities in the Minho region. The Community of Philosophy Readers is but one example of the important role that CEHUM plays in the wider community. The leadership of CEHUM is also responsive to the opportunities provided by the Centre’s geographical proximity to Spain, and several important initiatives have been assumed with universities in Vigo, León, and Santiago de Compostela.


8. NATIONAL INTEREST

As a research unit dedicated to interdisciplinary and comparative work, this Centre has a strong national profile. A number of CEHUM’s researchers have collaborated actively with colleagues at other research units such as the Instituto de Literatura Margarida Losa (U Porto), Centro de Estudos Sociais (U Coimbra), the Centro de Estudos Comparatistas (U Lisbon), to name only a few.


9. INTERNATIONAL PROFILE

CEHUM has an active engagement with the international community, and all three of the principal research lines actively participate in important networks outside of Portugal, in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Hungary, and the USA.


10.DISTINCTIVE FEATURES AND ADDED VALUE

The impressive outreach activities in the Braga community, together with its strong national and international profile make CEHUM a particularly effective Research Centre that is capable of maintaining a variety of local, national, and international research and networking relationships.


11.GRADING OF CENTRE AND EVALUATIVE STATEMENT

Based on the review of accomplishments to date and on proposals for ongoing and future projects, as well as the role it plays nationally and internationally through its activities, CEHUM is found to be excellent.


12.RECOMMENDATIONS

i)The Evaluation panel recommends granting the FCT funding requested by CEHUM.

ii) The Centre should continue to work within a shared conceptual framework while maintaining the present structure of its research groups, including the interdisciplinary management group that successfully provides a core synergy for the Centre.

iii) The most recently established research group (Philosophy and Culture) will need to specify more clearly its research questions in the coming year, in order to create a firmer foundation as an integral part of the Centre.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Culture Sciences [RG-X-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-1874]
Language Sciences [RG-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-1872]
Literature Sciences [RG-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-1871]
Philosophy [RG-X-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-1873]
Philosophy and Culture Sciences [RG-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-2100]
Transdiciplinary [RG-LIT-Norte-Braga-305-967]