OFFICE OF GLOBAL STUDIES OF PORTUGUESE MARBLE IN CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE

Coordination: Carlos Filipe

This is a research office dedicated to the study, knowledge, valorisation and dissemination of marble, integrated in CLEPUL (Faculty of Letters of Lisbon), and in Chair Infante Dom Henrique for Atlantic Island Studies and Globalization (Aberta University). The working group will focus on the study of marble, in an integrated perspective, as a revealing element of national cultural identity and international reference from the period of Classical Antiquity to our days, with the following objectives:  

i) To develop multidisciplinary projects on the subject of marbles in Portuguese culture, beyond its material and artistic perspective, specifically taking into account literary and philosophical references.

ii) The projects may be promoted individually or collectively, respecting the principle of coordination.

iii) To establish protocols with other academic institutions or public or private research entities to carry out cooperative studies.

iv) To support academic works of masters, doctorates or in other scientific framework. 

v) Carrying out theoretical and practical training (seminars, conferences, exhibitions or workshops), aimed at various target audiences, both in academia and in other cultural institutions.

vi) Promote thematic visits and itineraries, within the framework of the guidelines of this research office, valuing the sharing of information.

vii) Establish a comprehensive network of researchers from different academic backgrounds who can contribute to the achievement of the office’s objectives.

viii) Disseminate research results with publications in scientific and cultural journals. 

ix) Provide external consultancy services for the development of research and valuation projects in the areas of the office. 

Background 

The ornamental rock sector in Portugal has been recognized in international markets for the qualities of Portuguese endogenous products for about 70 years. Among the most notable ornamental rocks, due to their long history and recognized quality, are the Marbles of the Anticlinal Alentejo, in a geography that includes the councils of Borba, Estremoz and Vila Viçosa, and with less expression in their economic activity, Alandroal and Sousel. The scientific study of this endogenous resource has received relevant and innovative contributions with the Heritage and History of the Marbles Industry research project, taking place at the Centre for Studies CECHAP since 2012. This project made it possible to catalogue documentary and bibliographic sources for the 1850-1986 period, comprising the areas of History, Industrial Archaeology, Oral History, and the technologies used in this historical period. A second phase of the project identified above started in June 2017, including new lines of research, namely Roman Archaeology and Art History (16th to 19th centuries); continuation of the areas of Industrial Archaeology, History of Techniques and Companies with the incorporation of industrial iconography, mapping and dissemination in a openly available website. 

It is our understanding that the proposal to create an autonomous research line, integrated in CLEPUL (Faculty of Letters of Lisbon), and Chair Infante Dom Henrique for Atlantic Island Studies and Globalization (Aberta University), is justified by the inexistence of a state of the art that responds to the need for a systematic study on the history of Portuguese marbles and their cultural representation. Taking into account the materiality and artistic use of Portuguese marbles, considering the contribution of the studies of history of art, geology, archaeology, economics and architecture, we now intend to study them in a new perspective, integrated and from the point of view of studies of the history of culture, using literary, philosophical and legislative sources.

Thus, we consider relevant the knowledge of the bibliography of authors who dealt with marbles in literature and philosophy and the discourses they produced; as well as the study of the evolution of the understanding and concept of use of marbles in Portuguese law, parliamentary discussions, justifications for measures taken or avoided around this subject. 

Coordination: Carlos Filipe 

Researchers: Joana Balsa de Pinho, Cristiana Lucas, Patrícia Monteiro