British Culture and History

Description of the Research Group

The British Culture and History Research Group, one of two such groups based in the Lisbon branch of the CETAPS, was launched in December 2008 under the coordination of Filipe Furtado. In March 2009 Gabriela Gândara Terenas took over as coordinator, and she will continue until December 2020.

Since the beginning of 2010, the Research Group has been concerned with the development of its most recent project Science and Culture in Britain (19 th and 20 th centuries). The choice of this area of research was mainly due to the innovative character of the theme within the scope of research projects in the field of Humanities. In fact, it has only been in the last three or four decades that relationships between Literature, Culture and other areas of Humanities, on the one hand, and Natural Sciences on the other, have been considered a suitable subject for academic discussion and research. Yet, in its philosophical, historical and artistic aspects, what is generally understood as Culture has always explored the enormous wealth of knowledge and the repercussions of Science and its offshoot Technology, particularly so from the 17 th century onwards. And so it is, that as the scientific domain has been enriched by an almost inexhaustible flow of knowledge regarding the infinite possibilities of nature, the humanities and arts have added new dimensions, arising from the world of fantasy and the realm of the imagination. Within the scope of such interaction, the Research Group has decided to concentrate on the following areas of research: British scientific theories and discoveries and their relationship with the cultural domain; Science, Literature and the Visual Arts; Fictionalisations of Science; Science and the Media; and Science Fiction.

Research Projects

Over the next seven-year period, from 2014 to 2010, the team members will carry out its research remit in two main inter-related areas: Science and Culture in Britain, a research line founded in 2010, and British Culture and the Media, a research line founded in 2013.

Due, in part, to the growing interest in projects involving the relationships between Life Sciences and Social Sciences, the future activities of the research line on Science and Culture in Britain will address and foster the examination of the multiple links between Science and the Humanities from an intercultural perspective. On the one hand, the scientific method (empirical) has frequently been employed in humanistic studies, whilst scientific themes have always inspired poets, novelists, artists and film directors. On the other, scientists often make use of narrative discourse or visual techniques to disseminate their new discoveries. Thus the Group members will confront and compare scientific and humanistic discourses also studying the different strategies employed in the representation, dissemination and popularisation of science, particularly in fictional narratives as well as in the Arts, attempting, in this way, to establish how far the comparison of different forms of discursivity can contribute towards the study of the history of science, visual culture and literature, in nineteenth, twentieth and twentieth-first-century Great Britain.

The fundamental aim of the research line British Culture and the Media is to study the role played by certain television series produced by the BBC as propagators of science, literature and history. Placing its emphasis on the dynamic relationship motivated by the reception of the British public of a cultural product characterised by a strongly canonical legitimacy – both from the scientific and historical and literary points of view – the aim of this research line will be based, from the methodological angle, on a three phased approach founded on the following stages: the BBC as a scientific broadcaster; the BBC and the broadcasting of televised literature; and the BBC as a broadcaster of historical narrative.

Archive of activities