P.I.: Helena Carvalhão Buescu


This project aims at addressing those issues that derive from an understanding of the interplay between memory and forgetfulness in the construction of personal as well as cultural memory. Further emphasis will also be placed on the study of the negative of memory through the modalities of forgetting, amnesia, amnesty, forgiveness, trauma, and censorship. Literature will not only be considered at the heart of a wider prospect – in which it will stand as a decisive form in the awareness of how personal, collective, and cultural identities are (trans)formed, (re)negotiated and go under a permanent process of fundamental revision, but it will also be viewed as a field relating to several other fields, mainly those of law, psychoanalysis, neurology, and social history. This web of relations will try to locate memory and testimony in the wider context of forms of forgetting, to study in further detail how personal and social memory is conditioned by so many forms that forgetfulness may take, and indeed takes. Some of these ways of forgetting are socially legitimized, other not; some of them have links to law, other to philosophy or religion, still others with science. We will put literature into the map of these forms of forgetting, and understand how the negative of memory is also a way of shaping memory itself.


  • Coloquium about Literature and Law – “Mundos em Diálogo”
    Date: 19-20th February 2008
    Organisers:  In collaboration with Faculty of Law, UNL
    Venue: Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon
  • ACT 20: “Memory, Testimony, and Forgetfulness”
    Date: November 2008
    Venue: Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon
  • Coloquium “Memória da Sabedoria”
    Date: February 2009
    Organisers: In collaboration with Centro de Estudos Clássicos
    Venue: Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon

Research Team

  • Helena Carvalhão Buescu
  • Fernanda Mota Alves
  • Sofia Tavares
  • Ricardo Gil Soeiro
  • Ana Raquel Morais