Coalescence and conflict
Historians and their personae in the Portuguese New State
in How to be a historian
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This chapter argues that scholarly personae offer a helpful lens for understanding the professionalization of history in Portugal during the first twenty years of the Estado Novo dictatorship (1926–48). First, it looks at the most shared characteristics of the historian’s role-identity: a commitment to knowledge, to the nation and to unity. Second, it examines two pairs of personae along the lines of which historians often found themselves separated. First, there was the rift between men of letters, with so much cultural capital that they could afford to work alone, and academic scholars, who worked mostly in academies, instead of writing for newspapers in between their scholarly work. Second, there was a rift between those who valued asceticism – often abandoning clear-cut narratives for explanations that better respected the complexity of the source material – and those who favoured styles that contributed more to nation building, using metaphor and hyperbole.

Editor: Herman Paul


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