Portuguese studies remained my main and nearly exclusive area of academic expertise for about a decade (1997-2007).
Some aspects may be accentuated as the highlights of my Lusitanist experience: the expansion, Vieira, and the contemporary literature, with the leading figure of José Saramago. I explored the latter in my PhD dissertation and a book presenting the general landscape of post-2nd world war Portuguese literature to the Polish reader. I also published an extensive monograph, as well as several articles on Saramago.
The expansion and the new structures of imagination it brought about occupied a significant place in my post-doctoral dissertation (habilitation).
In 2013-2015, I realized a research project on "late style" in Saramago, recycling the concept proposed by Edward Said to reflect on the specific role played by an old writer and intellectual. At the same time, I decided to use this project as an occasion to rebuild more general vision on the Portuguese culture and I asked myself if the Saidian concept of "late style" might be applied to the entire cultural landscape at the moment of closing the "maritime cycle" initiated in the 15th century.
IMPERIAL TOPOLOGIES. PORTUGUESE CULTURE-IN-THE-WORLD
At the present moment, I think once again about building a new conceptual frame for the expertise concerning the history of the Portuguese culture I've gathered. My topological and diagrammatic thinking might eventually become such a conceptual frame also for the Portuguese expansion.
This topological approach to the history of the Portuguese "culture-in-the world" and the contemporary consequences of its expansion is based on such categories as discontinuity, continuity, transferability, connectivity.
In the well-known process of the maritime expansion, I've become particularly sensitive the imagination of spacial continuity and discontinuity. Let's think about the concept of cabo, a promontory, such as Cabo Não the Portuguese sailors encountered on their way around the African coast. The great question that should be answered at the original moment of the expansion was the problem of continuity, and thus navigability of the maritime space. The positive solution of this problem gave interesting thread of reflection, inspiring Vieira to presuppose a similar kind of continuity in time - I mean his reflection on the hemispheres of time in História do Futuro, his vision of futurology as an analogy to maritime exploration.
Even more interesting, from my point of view, is the reflection on continuity and discontinuity of symbolic space. In other words, the question whether the humanity is continuous, if it forms a continuous space that enables a transfer of values. The affirmative answer to this question, given - a priori - by the humanists brought about interesting consequences. I think about, for example, about the notion of the "Adamic language" - a dream of rebuilding or recuperating a primordial form of communication, a pre-Babelian speech. It is only with the last writings by Vieira, on the outcome of his long personal experience as a missionary among the Indians, that the notion of discontinuity in the symbolic space, and thus intransferability of concepts and values, finds its expression in the concept of ignorantia invencibilis.
What I call topological dimension of reflection appears as a generator of utopia. Considering the world as a field of abstract potentialities may also be a functional basis of an eschatology - either such as the apocatastatic return to Paradise through the recuperation of the original language or such as the millenarian vision of the Fifth Empire.