TechNetEMPIRE - Technoscientific Networks in the construction of the built enviroment in the Portuguese Empire (1647-1871)



Start . 2018

Duration . 36 months

Principal Investigators . Alice Santiago Faria (CHAM) / Renata Malcher de Araujo (CHAM)





Funding Entity

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Main Research Unit

CHAM — Centro de Humanidades 

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa


Instituto de Engenharia Electrónica e Telemática de Aveiro / Universidade de Aveiro
Laboratório de Paisagens, Património e Território / Universidade do Minho
Universidade de Aveiro
Universidade do Minho


Following the restoration of independence, the "Aula de Fortificação e Arquitectura Militar" was created in Lisbon, in 1647. Subsequently, several classes and schools opened in Portugal and its overseas territories, in a cycle that would end in 1871 when the "Escola Mathemática e Militar" in Goa, Portuguese India, closed down. The aim of this project is to look at the colonial "dispositif" across time and geographies.

Departing from educational and administrative institutions related to the creation of the built environment in the Portuguese empire, our purpose is to understand how technoscientific networks were shaped according to the circumstances and local interests, and vice-versa. Focusing on how these networks evolved, we will follow expertise circles, patterns and agents of dissemination and circulation of technoscience, addressing the shift of the role of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire in an increasingly more interconnected world.





Following the restoration of independence, the Aula de Fortificação e Arquitectura Militar (Fortification and Military Architecture Class) was created in Lisbon, in 1647. Several classes and schools appeared in Portugal and its overseas territories, in a cycle that would end in 1871 when the Escola Mathemática e Militar [Mathematical and Military School] in Goa was closed. Based in two major bibliographical sources from the nineteenth century that have never been updated and that are still considered essential resources [Rib1871 ; Vit1899], this project will update these works conceptually and methodologically. Our aim is to look at the agents of the colonial "dispositif" experts and institutions - throughout time and space in order to understand how they created and shaped techno science networks across the Portuguese Empire. It is also important to understand how these networks changed (or not) throughout time and different geographies.

Following the transfer of knowledge over time and observing the patterns and the agents responsible for the dissemination and circulation of technoscience, we will be looking at an increasingly global world. It is also important to consider the role of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire in this change and transformation process in an increasingly interconnected world.The enlarged geographical dimension of the expansion entailed a pragmatic mechanism of deployment and training of agents adopted at an early stage for military engineers. This basic premise of the Portuguese school of military engineering, which developed simultaneously in various parts of the globe, has long been recognized. However, the effective perception of all the internal relationships between agents and their training methods in each location is yet to be made. The objective of the project is to fill that gap updating information concerning the behavior and training of these agents over time, but above all, creating an effective relational database where this information can be processed and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively in its various aspects.

One of goals of the project is to develop and provide an open access online platform that aims, on the one hand, to support academic research and, on the other, to serve the community through an online tool that gathers and acts as a mediator of information, which is part of the collective cultural heritage.






Alice Santiago Faria   .   Coordenator

Renata Malcher de Araujo  .    Coordenator

Sandra MG Pinto (CHAM)
Ana Catarina Gonçalves Lopes (Lab2PT / UMinho)

João Paulo Cabeleira Marques Coelho (Lab2PT / UMinho)

Maria Margarida Simão Tavares da Conceição (IHA / NOVA FCSH)

Antonieta Ferreira Reis Leite Porto (CES / UC)

Joaquim Manuel Henriques de Sousa Pinto (IEETA / UA)

Sara Alves Pereira Ventura da Cruz (CES / UC)

António Sánchez Martínez (CIUHCT / FC/UL)

Jorge Manuel Simão Alves Correia (Lab2PT / UMinho)

Sidh Daniel Losa Mendiratta (CES / UC)



Walter Rossa Ferreira Silva, CES, Universidade de Coimbra
Maria Paula Pires dos Santos Diogo, CIUHCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa e Universidade de Lisboa

Matteo Valleriani, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Beatriz Piccolotto Siqueira Bueno, FAU, Universidade de São Paulo