CECH - Centre of Classical and Humanistic Studies


Ongoing Research Projects

Anchoring Inclusion and Identity

Directed by Maria do Céu Fialho, José Luís Brandão and Cláudia Teixeira, the project involves researchers from Greek and Latin studies, exploring the issue of inclusion and identity, which was essential to Greek and Roman culture and a sign of stability. If the challenge for today’s Europe can be defined by the ability to include different cultures without losing its core identity, a model of integration can be found in the legacy of Alexander and especially in the formation of the idea of Rome, framed within the Mediterranean context. The project focus on how a selected corpus of historiographical and biographical texts reflects the definition of Greek and Roman identity, although with antagonistic perspectives: on the one hand, the awareness of the border between “Greekness”, “Romanitas” and “Otherness”; on the other, the understanding of identity also as an integration that coalesces multiplicity and difference. Although different in context and magnitude, those experiences provide illuminating solutions for integration into a multi-ethnic and multicultural Europe.

Within the framework of the "Anchors of inclusion and identity", the project "Rome our home:(Auto)biographical Tradition and the Shaping of Identity(ies)" (BioRom), recently approved for 3 years, aims to define the signs of identity(s) from a bibliographical corpus mainly of Roman, Latin and Greek subject, crossing them with the data of the historical and archaeological investigation.

Artes Docendi

 The Artes Docendi Project, which illustrates CECH's investment in Didactics, aims to be a point of reference for all those interested in issues related to the Didactics of Classical Studies, focusing on two fundamental aspects: research and training of trainers. Its main objective is the renewal of teaching practices in the area of Classical Languages and Cultures in general, and of Latin in particular. The spirit of sharing (of knowledge and resources) involved in this project is evident in the disposal of materials deriving from training actions and from research that is being made in the area of Didactics of Classical Studies.

Artes Docendi Homepage

Brill’s Plutarch Studies 

Edited by Delfim Leão & Lautaro Lanzillotta, the creation of “Brill’s Plutarch Studies” is a response to the renewed academic interest in Plutarch, who thus gained a permanent forum of debate in a prestigious international publisher. In fact, from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to contemporaneity, from Montaigne and Shakespeare to S. Zweig and J. K. Rowling, Plutarch contributed decisively to shaping Western thought and culture, being considered one of the educators of Europe. Over the last years, the CECH has strongly contributed to this international movement, becoming one of the most active venues for Plutarch’s studies, by developing research that has now reached full international visibility.

Plutarch Project Homepage

Briil's Plutarch Studies - Brill homepage

Classica Digitalia

Stemming from a collaboration between Coimbra University Press and the Centre for Classical and Humanistic Studies at the University of Coimbra, this specialized library aims to create a large space for the international dissemination of research in the area of Classical Studies. Its collaborations cover a wide range of themes and approaches (literature, culture, ancient history, archaeology, art history, philosophy, language and linguistics), whose common denominator are Classical Studies and their projection into the Middle Ages, Renaissance and today’s reception. Volumes published under the concept of CLASSICA DIGITALIA are available in open access.

Classica Digitalia Homepage

Cursus Aristotelicus Conimbricensis

Directed by Sebastião Pinho and Margarida Miranda at the CECH (and Mário Santiago de Carvalho, Institute for Philosophical Studies), it corresponds to a famous achievement of the Coimbra Jesuit School, published in 1592-1606, to support the study of Aristotelian philosophy. The influence of the “Cursus Aristotelicus Conimbricensis” extended from the Atlantic to the Urals, reaching also South America, India and China. Its international impact and influence on the configuration of modern philosophical thought (in figures such as Descartes, Leibniz, Espinoza, Locke, Hobbes, Marx and Peirce) urges that the text finally becomes available to 21st century readers in its first complete translation. The project gathers a team of more than 30 researchers (from several research centers) from the complementary specializations of CECH (Greek, Latin, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Hermeneutic Rationality), combining philological with philosophical studies: transcription, editing and translation of the Latin text, and finally its philosophical analysis.

Diaita: Food Heritage and Cultural Identity

Headed by Carmen Soares and being based on robust previous research within CECH, it aims to define Portuguese food heritage in the light of areas less approached by research: gastronomy, dietetics and their religious context. The earliest considerations on nutrition (by the Greeks and taken up by Latin authors) show an inextricable link between cookery and medicine. The study of classical, medieval, neo-Latin and Portuguese corpora is testimony to the survival of the precepts forged in Antiquity, up until the modern change in Europe’s scientific paradigm. As written texts play a major role in the cultural history of food (chiefly in medicine), the analysis focuses on a selected corpus of Greco-Latin dietetic texts, which served as reference for the Western medical art until the 18th century: works of Greek and Roman medicine (from the Corpus Hippocraticum, Galen and Celsus) and texts concerning food identity (Porphyry and Philo of Alexandria).

DIAITA Homepage

FESTEA – Theatre Festivals 

Headed by José Luís Brandão, this theatre festival is entirely devoted to classical authors and their reception, and has been marked, since its beginning, by strong laboratory collaboration with the research unit. In fact, CECH researchers who work on the Semantic and Pragmatic of Art regularly participate in the making of this festival at several levels: by directing undergraduate and postgraduate students who make their initiation in theatrical activity with the “Thiasos” group from the CECH (one of the organizers of the festival); by translating original texts that are performed each year (activity synergistic for those researchers who work with Greek and Latin); by supervising dissertations that deal with the making of a performance and with the reception of classical theatre in contemporary literature.

Hermeneutic Rationality

Headed by Maria Luísa Portocarrero, the philosophy core members of CECH will aim at holding one significant event each year, focusing on the main topics of their work (hermeneutics, theorizing myth, reason, memory and the body). The area already holds a Permanent Seminar “Critical History of Reason from Antiquity to Contemporaneity”. In 2018 it will organize a conference to discuss the role of reason in different areas (Philosophy, Law, Science, Economics) entitled “Reason Today: Interdisciplinary Perspectives”, followed by a large Congress in 2020, whose goal will be to assess the importance of hermeneutic rationality for the humanities: “Hermeneutic Rationality and the Future of the Humanities”.

Rewriting Myth

Directed by Maria de Fátima Silva and involving most members of CECH, the rewriting of myth is a priority area of the unit, which has for years developed intense contacts and networking activities, visible in two main forms of implementation: regular colloquia and publications. Benefiting from the long maturation of this area, the program as projected for 2018-22 is marked by its enactment of a strong plan of internationalization. It includes myth reception at large, even in Antiquity. A major outcome is the publishing plan negotiated with Brill for several volumes on reception studies. The reception is focused on Ibero-American production, although the study of these sources implies constant cross-referencing with literature of other geographical origins.

Worlds and Collections

Directed by Paulo Estudante and José Abreu, it is focused on identifying and studying the (mostly unknown) musical heritage preserved in Portuguese archives and libraries (and their cultural and literary context), together with the need to form people capable of working these sources both philologically and musically, making them accessible to a wider scientific and artistic public. Concerning the contributions to the “Worlds and Collections” series, published by Coimbra University Press, several volumes are being prepared (namely the critical edition of Latin and vernacular polyphony, instrumental repertoire and treatises from the 16th to the 18th centuries), accompanied by the production of two CDs by an international publisher. Actions of knowledge transfer and networking will be fostered by the annual organization of the International Conferences “Worlds and Collections”. Besides the regular production of concerts by musical laboratories (“Cappela Sanctae Crucis”, “O Bando de Surunyo”), a new way of experiencing the repertoire is envisaged, promoting practical workshops with Conservatories and Superior Schools of Music. 

Other projects

Dialogue among Sciences

Literature and Politics

PI Young Childhood