Why we need an expert on Portuguese literature and culture
and not on "Portuguese literature/culture in Brasil"...
Arguments about the need to have Portuguese as a BA/MA discipline at UiO
- The 6th language of the world in terms of native speakers
- The most spoken (and important) language in the Southern hemisphere
- Close ties among the (now) Portuguese-speaking countries in the world (not least because the African and Asian and Oceanic countries with Portuguese as official language have only became independent less than 50 years ago)
- An important language for Norway due to the country's international economic and humanitarian activities:
- Brazil is part of BRICS, one of the largest economies of the world, and an extremey rapidly expanding economy
- Norway's aid to Brazil is, according to the Norwegian Reserach Council, the most important contribution for envoronment protection worldwide
- Mozambique and Timor are important receivers of Norwegian developmental aid. Mozambique is even considered a "hovedsamarbeidsland"
- Portuguese has also been considered "the most important language for oil business nowadays" -- and is one of Statoil's official languages
Arguments about the need to consider Portuguese-speaking literature and culture -- and not only "in Brazil"
- Literature is considered a common wealth for the Portuguese language: most great writers are claimed and venerated in all Portuguese-speaking countries. Some of them there are even "disputed" as for whether they should be considered Brazilian or Portuguese (like Padre António Vieira, António José da Silva, and Jorge de Sena)
- To understand Brazilian culture, it is essential to understand Portuguese colonial policy and history, and the common history and destiny of the people who came to influence Brazil's history and culture.
- The contemporary authors of the Portuguese speaking countries are closely related from a cultural and even personal point of view: Not only they meet at numerous book fairs and conferences but also because of living (or having lived) in different Portuguese-speaking countries -- in addition to sharing editorial markets.
- I came to understand from my Brazilian students who took their secondary education in Brazil that "classical" Portuguese literature (including late nineteenth and early 20th century literature) is well known and studied at school by Brazilians -- usually without they even realizing that the authors in question are Portuguese. They write in Portuguese, they are therefore "ours".
- Although the situation is not identical in Portugal, Brazilian authors are generally recognized as markers and representatives of the Brazilian soul and have been extremely popular in Portugal, especially since the 1974 revolution.
- Some of the most considered Portuguese-speaking authors nowadays come from Angola and Mozambique, as can be seen by the winners of the Camões prize, the most prestigious award for literature in the Portuguese language.
- Among the UiO students (in the last five years), there is a tripartite (main) interest -- between those who are mainly interested in Africa, Brazil and Portugal.
- Although there are quite a few Brazilian students that study Portuguese language and culture at UiO, one of the clear advantages of the course for them is precisely the study of Portuguese as an international language, so that the students learn more than one variety, and get a balanced introduction to the whole Portuguese-speaking world (not only Brazil).
- The research project that is nearer the teaching in the Portuguese BA is Linguateca, which has for more than 15 years worked with studying the several varieties of Portuguese and compiled large literary corpora comprising several varieties. There is therefore material and inspiration for seeing and studying Portuguese as a world language and culture, as has always been the philosophy of the literature teaching at UiO: the first introduction to literature, POR1300, makes the students read short stories from Portuguese, Brazilian, Cape-Verdean, Angolan and Mozambican authors.
- The Portuguese-speaking countries are united in the CPLP (Community of the Portuguese-speaking countries) and have recently agreed on a common ortography, showing the will to engage and strenghten their common cultural and linguistic wealth.
Arguments about the need to have a humanistic (arts) and not socio-economical profile at HF (Arts Faculty at the University of Oslo)
- While a political and social perspective in cultural studies is a plus, it is not the main role of an Arts faculty: the students interested in such aspects can always take a 40-points (minor) at the Social Sciences (SV) faculty.
- If the funding were unlimited, I would not oppose having specific scholars dealing with solely economomical or political matters in the Portuguese-speaking societies, but this is way less central to a degree in Portuguese at an Arts Faculty. First, they should be competent in the language, the literature, the culture and the history of the Portuguese-speaking world.
Last updated: 18 September 2015