Science, Poetry and Cultural Resistance in Early Modern Portugal

Lecture | April 22 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Luís Miguel Carolino

 Institute of European Studies, Portuguese Studies Program

In Renaissance Europe, cosmological poetry was often perceived as a privileged means to discuss the constitution of heaven, its structure and the interrelations of its parts. Nevertheless, the Portuguese case presents what seems to be a particularity in the European context. The Aristotelian philosophical tradition was put into question all over Renaissance Europe, but in Portugal the first sharp and comprehensive criticism of Aristotelian natural philosophy emerged exclusively in poetical contours. It was due to physicians Francisco Sanches, Estêvão Rodrigues de Castro and Manuel Bocarro Francês, whose neo-Latin cosmological poems were influenced respectively by skepticism, Neo-Platonism, Lucretian atomism, and Stoic philosophy. Luís Miguel Carolino analyzes these poems and interprets them as examples of Portuguese late-Renaissance philosophical poetry as well as intellectual ways of rising against the philosophical tradition and cultural hegemony put in place by Counter-Reformation movement.

As Professor at the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal, and Visiting Professor in the Department of History at UC Berkeley, Carolino teaches courses on the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe, with an emphasis on Portugal and the Portuguese overseas empire (15th-early 19th centuries). Before joining the History Department at ISCTE-IUL, he held research positions at Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, Italy (2001-02), Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2002-07), and University of Lisbon (2008-13). He was also a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Carolino specializes in the history of early modern science. His research focuses on the social, institutional, and cultural relations of science, areas in which he has published extensively (including 3 books and over 50 articles). His current projects include the analysis of how the European maritime voyages shaped the emergence of a new understanding of discovery and experience in the 16th century, as well as the study of the intersection between confessionalization, institutional policies and the practice of science in early modern Europe.