The Centre for Comparative Studies (CEC) is a scientific unit of the School of Arts and
Humanities, University of Lisbon. Its activities encompass the comparative analysis of literatures,
arts and cultures, using interdisciplinary methodologies and highly theorised approaches. CEC’s
scientific identity is strongly grounded in the fields pertaining to Comparatism within the
Humanities (Culture Studies, Literary and Artistic/Interart Studies, in dialogue with the Social
Sciences). Spatial questions and approaches articulating these with the aesthetic and cultural
dimensions of time, history and memory are common to all groups, notwithstanding the variety of
approaches and methodological procedures adopted. CEC promotes the necessary discussion
about the epistemological challenges raised by Comparatism, continually refocusing the reflection
on this field of knowledge. The comparatist practice, situated at an interdisciplinary and
interdiscursive focal point, depends on that inward gaze that is the first condition of its possibility.
One of the most consolidated features of CEC is its high-standard international profile in terms of
its members and partnerships, attracting a large number of foreign PhD students and postdoctoral
researchers, and fostering a significant number of international networks and doctoral schools.
IWL-Institute of World Literature, LACE-Literature and Change in Europe, INCH-International
Network for Comparative Studies, CHCI-Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes,
ECHIC-European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres and The Hermes Consortium
for Literary and Cultural Studies are outstanding examples of the international networking of our
centre. Several projects have received national and international funding, including “Comparative
World Literature”, undertaken in partnership with Harvard University and sponsored by the
Presidency of the Republic, and “Heriligion”, developed in cooperation with other four countries
and funded by HERA. CEC’s members contribute regularly to international publications, making
use of multidisciplinary and cross- cultural approaches. Examples of its research lines include
comparative and world literature, as well as postcolonial, intermedia and interart studies,
translation, critical security and gender studies, and memory, emotion and cognitive studies.
Issues of inter- and transculturality, as well as textual and cultural translation are also studied in
the Centre, along with a critical approach to Digital Humanities. CEC is organised into 4 Groups
(CITCOM, LOCUS, MORPHE and THELEME) comprising several clusters that carry out research
within the scope of specific topics; most of these clusters host projects (presenting a timeline and
planned outcomes). CEC is coordinated by a Director, working with a Vice-director and the
coordinators of the groups and funded projects. It has a Scientific Board, composed of PhD
members, 2 Advisory Boards (Internal and External). For management purposes it has a body of
clerical staff (4 persons). CEC fosters the integration of graduate students, who work with the
researchers and participate in doctoral schools and consortia. CEC publishes a book series
(ACT/Alterities, Crossings, Transfers), 2 peer-reviewed interdisciplinary periodicals
(Textos&Pretextos and the ejournal Estrema), and supports Dedalus – Portuguese Revue of
Comparative Literature, edited by the Portuguese Association of Comparative Literature (APLC).
It operates through a website (https://cec.letras.ulisboa.pt/en/), public databases and a monthly
digital newsletter that disseminates the CEC’s activities and publications. It supports academic
education at FLUL, fostering a six-semester BA course and a postgraduate programme, including
an MA and an international PhD programme. CEC will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2019.
Research & Strategy
In the period 2013-2017 CEC was organized in 4 Research Groups that reflect these trends, all using multidisciplinary approaches, with different emphases that correspond to research previously undertaken and the specific training of its members. These Research Groups are organized as follows:
CITCOM adopts a reflective approach to concepts and objects for comparison in postcolonial contexts. Research is carried out from a multidisciplinary perspective, establishing a dialogue between the Humanities, the Arts and the Social Sciences, paying particular attention to citizenship, comparative (post)colonialisms, migration, gender, memory and history.
Locus examines ideas of place, landscape and borders.
MORPHE researches memory in its relationship with tradition, emotions and textuality, aiming to contribute to the debate of how individual, collective and cultural identities are formed and transformed.
THELEME fosters research on different artistic practices and interart phenomena.
Each group receives scientific support from a postdoctoral researcher engaged by the Centre according to the specific needs of the group’s projects. In addition to the projects supported by the overall funding of FCT, the Centre also host several projects that receive autonomous international and national funding’s.
The Centre follows the organisational and management procedures set up by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia). According to its statutes, the Centre is coordinated by a director, who works closely with a vice-director and the directors of the ongoing Groups and Projects. It has a scientific board, composed of PhD members, and an external advisory board (CEPAC). For management and organisational purposes it has a body of clerical and administrative staff (an Executive Secretary, and three other staff members responsible for a) Conferences, Communication, Website, b) Project Management and c) Publications, Library and Design.)
Bringing together scholars from different academic backgrounds, CEC is recognized for its vibrant, supportive and well-integrated community. It continues to recruit members from different academic and national backgrounds, who add value to the research and projects undertaken in the Centre. Furthermore, CEC contributes to the training, supervision and integration of post-graduate students, who have the opportunity to work directly in the existing projects and participate in summer schools and consortia belonging to networks which the Centre supports both scientifically and financially (ECHIC, CHCI, IWL, HERMES). Its main regular publications are the book series ACT – Alterities, Crossings, Transfers and the journals Textos & Pretextos, which is meant simultaneously for academics and students and a more urban-oriented audience, and estrema (open access), which welcomes works by PhD and MA students. Apart from its website and its public databases, CEC relies on a monthly digital newsletter (Boletim) created in order to disseminate CEC’s activities and publications.
The Centre extends its activities to initial and further scientific education. It is linked to the initial stages of high education by fostering a six semester BA course (Licenciatura em Estudos Comparatistas), which is mostly taught by CEC researchers. The post-graduation programme (Programa em Estudos Comparatistas/PEC) is also associated to CEC: it offers a MA course taught by CEC researchers and collaborators and an international PhD programme (“PhDComp”), based on a partnership with the University of Bologna (Italy) and the University of Leuven (Belgium).
CEPAC – Academic Advisory Board
António Sousa Ribeiro (CES-UC), Birgit Neumann (Dusseldorf University, Germany), Lars Elleström (Linnæus University, Sweden), Manuela Ivone Cunha (CRIA/UMinho) e Timothy Cresswell (Trinity College, Hartford – Connecticut).
Statutes of the Center for Comparative Studies
Code of ethics
Considering the Centre’s ethnographic research, collaborative character and examination of racial, gender and other identity markers, its research activity is subject to ethical review. The Centre for Comparative Studies complies with a rigorous ethical policy affecting data gathering, human subject research, gender policy, protection of personal data and open access policies. It is responsibility of the CEC’s director and vice-director to ensure that these rules are abided by, and to develop protocols and procedures governing ethics in research and research conduct. The CEC’s ethical guidelines will be displayed on the centre’s website for public consultation. Concerning data gathering and human subject research, all CEC members are compelled to adapt their fieldwork research in order to produce a body of work which could not misrepresent, mischaracterise or otherwise violate the rights or dignity of the interviewed individuals and collectives, as well as their personal data and right to privacy. Special attention is given to such considerations of race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sexuality, ability and age. Interviews are subjected to a body of ethical practices and safeguards, including the following: participants are given the option to fully anonymise their responses and interviews are conducted only upon the signing of an agreement or informed oral consent between both parties. Informed consent procedures are obtained prior to the production of fieldwork research, and copies of ethical approvals are gathered and made available for external evaluation of the research unit. Personal data is processed and anonymised manually before storage, and its use and consultation is available only with the consent of the PI who conducted the research, and in accordance with the consent of the participants. Impact assessments are produced by the CEC’s directive board and made available for public consultation. CEC follows an exhaustive gender and equality policy at all stages of its operations, from the configuration of research teams to the collaboration with audiences and stakeholders.
All research initiatives including human subject research are encouraged to incorporate equal gender representation within their activities. The recruitment of team members will be consistent with UL policies and procedures for equality and staff recruitment.
Insofar as it is practicable, this will include ensuring gender and equality representation on recruitment selection panels. This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, merit increase, salary, training and development. The CEC ensures the research activities by making use of the policy of screening for plagiarism adopted by the University of Lisbon. Finally, free open access will be ensured in all research outcomes developed by CEC members, complying with the policy adopted by the University of Lisbon.