Women intellectuals and cultural mediators in Portugal and Brazil. The case of Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho (1847- 1921)




Code   .  CEECIND/2022.04226

Start   .   2023
Duration   .   72 meses
Principal Investigator   .  Patrícia Santos Hansen (CHAM)





Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia



CHAM — Centro de Humanidades



Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa


The project aims to research Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho (1847-1921) as a mediator intellectual and her insertion within a social network constituted by artists and writers in the Portuguese speaking world in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. The approach to the biography of Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho with resources from intellectual history, cultural, postcolonial and gender studies, among other references, aims to enrich the category "cultural mediator" in order to consider also situational and corporeity aspects of the subjects framed in this category concerning their epistemic places. As the first woman accepted in the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, alongside Carolina Michaelis, Maria Amalia is mentioned in almost every work on 19th-century Portuguese women. However, her ideas, production or significance in the literary and intellectual environment have never received a more thorough or complete analysis.

A biographical approach will allow exploring complementary dimensions of the context of social, professional and intellectual life in Portugal no final do século XIX e início do XX. On the one hand, the possibilities and interdictions to intellectual and political practices of a particular personification of identities at different moments of her life. On the other hand, the dynamics of production, circulation and reception of ideas and cultural goods in Portuguese society and their exchanges with colonies, former colonies and other European countries.



The main goal of the project is to contribute to the understanding of cultural mediation practices used by subaltern subjects with discernible political-intellectual projects, considering the positionality of these actors. Understanding that every mediation practice is also a creation, this notion expands the possible uses of the term "intellectual". Besides the biographical approach, the project aims to stimulate other projects and obtain comparable elements, in order to produce critical and analytical tools for intellectual history. Regarding the individual research on Maria Amalia Vaz de Carvalho and her work, the objectives are:

. to identify the traces of a political-intellectual project in her production, possible mutations over time and convergences with "biographical events” that punctuate her trajectory;

. map intellectual, publishing and personal relationships, including friendships, marriage and kinship, the networks she integrated and her position in them to assess the circulation of her writings between Portugal and Brazil;

. to recognize the drivers of her preeminence in the Portuguese and Brazilian intellectual fields and the actions that led her to the Lisbon Academy of Sciences;

. to investigate changes in her activity and opinions after "biographical events” that punctuate her trajectory.







Patrícia Santos Hansen   .   Coordenator