About the Program
The Graduate Program in History at the Unicamp, which began in 1976, was initially conceived as a master's program in Brazilian History that would reflect cutting-edge approaches and methods as well as innovative trends in Brazilian historiography. This initial phase was important for the recovery of the political memory of the working classes, with studies on everyday life, life outside of the factories, and studies on popular culture.
The second phase of the program began in the following decade with the creation of the Doctorate in History. At that time, the Program expanded, creating one common research concentration - Social History of Labor - that housed five lines of research: slavery and free labor; social movements; labor process; politics and labor; culture and cities. One of the results of the Culture and Cities research line was the creation of the Unicamp Memory Center (Centro de Memória - CMU) in 1985. Connected administratively to the Office of the University Rector but founded and directed by several researchers from the Graduate Program in History, the CMU is an important center for documentation and research.
In 1989, a second research concentration in History of Art and Culture was added to the Graduate Program in History. For the first time in Brazil, a graduate program in History incorporated an area that was traditionally located in schools and institutes of Fine Arts or Architecture.
In the 1990s, the Graduate Program in History expanded its subjects of interest with several new research areas, such as religion, gender, racism, material culture, and postmodernism. Many others were developed in the context of studies into the history of architecture, the iconography of travelers, and the relations between art and politics, bringing together different research fields. These multidisciplinary interactions and new research areas, which were already present in the program’s daily academic operations, soon demanded curricular changes.
In 1993, the concentration of Social History of Work underwent changes in its lines of research. The following lines emerged: Labor, Politics, and Social Movements; Social History of Slavery and Racism; Culture and Cities; Urban Policies, Cultural Production, and Citizenship. Three new lines of research were created: Social History of Culture; Political Strategies; Concepts, Representations and Imagery; History, Memory, and Historiography. In 1997, these changes began to incorporate the History, Culture, and Gender research area that privileged Cultural History as a central theoretical approach to studies of gender, identities, sociability, and material culture.
The current configuration of the History Program was implemented in 2001 and the curriculum was remodeled in order to achieve the following objectives: a greater integration between undergraduate and graduate studies, a greater efficiency in the activities in each research field, and also a greater balance between individual research, classwork, and graduate research groups involving students and professors. Since 2002, we have four new main research areas whose new nomenclatures express their thematic origins : History of Art , Cultural History, Social History, and Politics, Memory and the City.
In 2004, the Doctorate in the History of Art was established, and in 2006 a new research line was organized in the area of Social History: the Social History of Africa, which arose from studies of slavery undertaken in the Social History of Culture research group. The new line, concentrating on identities, practices and thought related to Africa, proposes stimulating collaboration between researchers in the Departments of Anthropology and History.
From this thirty-year trajectory that consolidated an innovative and consistent collective work, the Graduate Program in History reinforces its initial goals:
-To train highly qualified teachers and researchers who can go on to work at universities, archives, research institutes, organizations and institutions of historical preservation, etc.
-To promote intellectual development in an environment of constant theoretical debate and investigation of new themes and sources.-To contribute significantly to teaching, research and the construction and diffusion of knowledge about history.
Field 1: History of Art
The line of research History of Art was created in 1988 in order to fill a void in the Brazilian academic world as there were no graduate degrees in the field before that, despite being a very well established discipline in the European context, defining a field of investigation based on theoretical postulates and legitimated by the wealth of its results. In 2004, the doctorate in the History of Art was instituted, with the goal of maintaining the same level of excellence as the rest of the Graduate Program in History. The introduction of such degrees courses in Brazilian universities corresponds to the institutionalization of a discipline that has an objective, a methodology, and a conceptual corpus that represent knowledge built largely on interdisciplinary questions. This field aims to deal with the artistic and cultural object so as to stress its specific nature, instead of being included in the generic classification of a historical document. At the same time, it strives to multiply the links to other domains of cultural production. We intend to offer graduate students methodical training that allows them to work on the key questions in the History of Art as a whole, including theoretical, museological and conservational problems, art criticism, orientation on cultural programs, teaching, and diffusion of the historical-artistic preservation.
1.1) Classical Tradition Studies
This line of research consists of the study of the trajectory of classical themes from antiquity to the present day, focusing on: a) Art Historiography from antiquity to today; b) questions related to classical archeology and to ancient art and its development in the Middle Ages; c) Classical Tradition in the modern and contemporary period, with studies of the projections of the classical universe from the Renaissance to the present ; d) Iconographic and comparative iconological studies; e) History of artistic techniques; and f) Artistic literature and the history of art treatises, as well as research on the artistic lexicon and the rhetorical structures in propositional discourses.
1.2) Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art
This line of research focuses on the issues that characterize the central problems of art and culture, from the Renaissance to the present day. These research areas include studies in: a) the history of architecture; b) the emergence and diffusion of the Renaissance in the fifteenth century throughout Europe and the Mannerist crisis in the sixteenth century; c) the renewal of the seventeenth century, with studies of cultural and artistic forms linked to the emergence of the Counter-Reformation and Absolutism; d) the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century traditions, with studies on the "philosophical" renewal linked to the reformation of the arts in reaction to the permanence of the forms of the Old Regime; e) the art of the industrial revolution, with studies focused on the idea of artistic modernity, in the broadest sense, in the nineteenth century; f) the twentieth century, addressing issues related to the formal experiences of avant-garde movements and parallel artistic production; g) the history of art criticism.
1.3) Topics in Non-Western Art
This line of research proposes broadening the scope of the students’ training in the program to include the study of non-Western art in four specific areas: pre-Colombian Art, African Art, Japanese Art, and Art Theory.
The idea of creating this new line of research emerged along with Prof. Rogério Cerqueira Leite’s donation to Unicamp, which shall offer important opportunities for students to receive training in emergent fields of knowledge. In addition, the important presence of Japanese culture in São Paulo and the existence of a strong artistic tradition within this community have led us to include training in Japanese art. The focus on art theory in this program aims to introduce reflection on new theories and methods, as well as on the history of art history.
Description: This line of research focuses on non-European art traditions and theoretical issues concerning the development and use of new methods and instruments toward a history of art from a global perspective. This line of research places special emphasis on: 1) pre-Columbian art: the artistic production of the various peoples who inhabited the American continent before the arrival of Europeans, and questions regarding its reception, collecting, conservation, and the relationship between artistic and cultural production from its creation to the present day. 2) Asian art: including the study of its production, reception, and circulation in Asian countries and around the world, from prehistoric times to the present day. The artistic and visual production of Asian communities in Brazil and their interactions with the local environment, from the nineteenth century to the present, is also be contemplated. 3) African art: its production, reception, and circulation in the African continent and in light of black diasporas throughout all historical periods. Afro-Brazilian art, from colonial times to the present is also one of the focuses of this line of research. 4) Art theory: includes studies on theoretical and methodological issues related to the expansion of the discipline of art history towards new fields of study, in particular the study of non-European traditions of art. Theories and issues related to the construction of a History of Global Art will also be considered. 5) Study of other non-European traditions, in all historical periods, will also be included in this line of research. This research is supported by the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles, which for two years has financed visits by acclaimed scholars specializing in non-European art who come to Unicamp to teach semester-long courses in the program.
Area 2: Cultural History
This area of concentration investigates the production of historical knowledge in multiple themes, guided by the theoretical-methodological proposals of Cultural History. Although it embraces different approaches, Cultural History is centered on some fundamental points: it considers culture more as a constitutive dimension of society, rather than as being socially determined; it understands the role of the historian as constructing a reading, marked by the historian’s subjectivity, of the past based on interpretations contained in documents-monument; lastly, it assumes the importance of narrativity in the historicization of events.
2.1) Historiography, Religion, and Culture
This line of research develops historiographical and methodological reflections from the perspective of cultural history. Its main objective is to analyze cultural representations and practices in themes located in different spaces and temporalities. It considers the study of languages, literature, arts, philosophical and political ideas, and religious systems as historically and culturally significant practices that deal with the organization of activities, institutions, and relations at different historical moments. Historiography, Religion, and Culture also delves into the methodology and written practices of history with a focus on narratives, interpretations, subjectivities, and alterities.
The following are the central axes of research activities of scholars at Unicamp working in this field:
2.1.1) Cultural history of religions in Brazil in the 19th and 20th centuries; missionaries, gender, and religion; theoretical and methodological questions about the history and historiography of religions.
2.1.2) History and historiography of the Church with emphasis on its role in normalizing conduct and its interaction with general and local power structures between the sixth and fourteenth centuries;
2.1.3) New World Religions; catechism; religious chronicles and hagiography in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the Inquisition.
2.1.4) Studies of national and international currents in historiography as cultural productions.
2.2) Gender, Subjectivities, Material Culture, and Cartographies
This line of research approaches themes and problematizes issues related to sexuality and the production of subjectivities, from the perspective of Cultural History, cartographic representations, artistic expression, and material culture. It investigates the historical forms of power and counter-power, articulating them through the concepts of class, gender, race, and ethnicity. Studying Material Culture, considered a new field of historical investigation, is useful in studies on Classical Antiquity, as well as those related to modernity and postmodernity. This line of research develops and encourages studies on the history of cartography and related topics, such as travel logs and border issues.
Area 3: Social History
This area is dedicated to the study of social relations and their significance for various historical subjects. The emphasis of research is on the practices of subaltern groups and their horizontal and vertical relationships of confrontation and solidarity, as well as on the processes of building identities and differences. Researchers in this area are also interested in the ways in which such groups have acted in public spaces and demanded rights, and how they have been seen and represented by intellectuals, authorities, entrepreneurs, and other agents with whom they are faced in different situations in their life experiences.
3.1) Social History of Culture
This line of research develops a political, historiographic, and methodological reflection on the universe of culture centered on historical subjects and their diversity, focusing on the cultural confrontations present in different spaces and social practices. Four major axes are at the core of research and teaching in this area: first, an emphasis on the experiences of blacks, Africans, and their descendants during the slave and post-abolition periods. Second, a focus on the "history of indigenous peoples" through various approaches to history and anthropology. The third axis turns specifically to intellectuals, especially the authors and folklorists who conceived of, thematized, and investigated what they defined as the "popular." Finally, the fourth axis focuses on the festive and collective traditions of the streets, looking for multiple meanings in situations that the more traditional literature has mostly limited to expressions of Brazilian identity.
3.2) Social History of Labor
The main subject of this line of research is the diverse experiences of urban and rural workers, focusing on the different aspects that make up the world of work: labor processes and relations of production in the workplace; the organization of workers and social movements; migratory movements; the spaces of daily life, with their specific conditions and leisure practices, housing, and health; culture, values, and conceptions that inform class relations; the different projects and political disputes over labor relations; the relations of the workers to institutions, and public spaces and their activity in regard to legislative and judicial measures.
3.3) Social History of Africa
This line of research studies the processes of formation of societies, cultures, and social identities in Africa and in the context of the African Diaspora in America, the Middle East, and Indian Ocean either from a comparative perspective or by focusing on African realities. Studies on slavery in Africa and America, for example, or the social definition of "race" in former Portuguese, English, or French colonies are relevant to this research area, as is the re-signification of symbols and religious rituals at the introduction of Africans and Afro-descendants to Christianity and Islam, and the "worlds of work" in urban spaces. Also of great interest are studies of the trade routes connecting the north, center, and south of the African continent, messianic movements, the formation of the conquered States, resistance to the establishment of colonial States, national liberation movements, and the history of the formation of a national literature.
Area 4: Politics, Memory, and City
This line of research proposes an interdisciplinary approach to the subjects of city history, urbanism and urban policies, culture in its various dimensions, and politics circumscribed to Euro-American modernity between the 17th and 21st centuries. It privileges various themes regarding its materiality, historical constitution, and symbolic dimensions, namely: the urban, the city, the nation, patrimony, the territories and their borders, culture, regimes, institutions, political languages and practices, utopias, the public and domestic spheres in their various manifestations, and the individual as historical subject. This line of research also considers the historiographic traditions of this modernity, its forms of cognition, and its processes of re-signification, in problematizing the perspective of the theoretical aspects and of the textual, iconographic, and media sources. It emphasizes reflecting on the concepts and multiple constitutive languages of representations and the imaginary, among them aesthetics, in their discursive and iconographic forms present in political thought, in urban policies, in urban projects, and in the dimension of memory in relation to historical narratives and historiography.
4.1) Culture and City
This line of research consists of studies about the production of the urban universe in modern society, building a history of cities in various languages and areas of knowledge. The city is thought of as the symbolic and political place of the formation of the citizen—the legal subject of rights -, as well as the place where different forms of sensibility and perception and appropriation of the built, public and private, are developed from different points of view (specialized knowledge and everyday experiences). This line of research devotes special attention to the study of the representation of the city in technical and artistic productions—the mass media (photography, cinema, etc.)—and by the memories or forgotten experiences present in the configuration of the temporal layers that constitute it. This research also studies the idealizations of urban space and its planning as well as the different intervention strategies that make the city an experimental laboratory for diverse knowledge (medicine, hygiene, architecture, and social institutions) in order to transform it into a normalized and predictable environment. In this way, the city and its components, visualized from a historical perspective, in all their complexity, are at the core of Culture and City.
4.2) Politics, Culture, and Memory
Political history and culture can be understood by taking into account the motivations, both conscious and unconscious, of individual and collective human actions. Research in this area highlights the reverberation of feelings, sensibilities, and passions in political actions, cultural practices, and the production of memories. In this sense, this line of research defines a wide array of work across four areas. 1) Manifestations of modern political thought (17th–21st centuries): its theoretical matrices; the subjects imbricated in its argumentation (the individual, freedom, power, work, wealth, poverty, social disease, revolution, citizenship, partisan strategies, the State); the aesthetic dimension in the various forms of literary and artistic production; the relations between knowledge, memory, and power. 2) Political thinking in specific historical situations in which it is temporally expressed in Euro-American modernity. 3) Political practices (languages, governance, representational stakes, symbolic and utopian dimensions of modern and contemporary experiences), and cultural practices (literature, food, photography, cinema, and visual art) experienced in these spaces. 4) Analysis of Brazilian and international historiography on these fields and subjects, the links between memory and history and the relationships woven between concepts, representations, and the imaginary.
4.3) Visual Culture, Intellectual History, and Patrimony
This line of research, in all its multiplicity, proposes historiographical approaches to subjects that express the representational mobilities of the contemporary period. In the dialogue between the social dimension of intellectual practices, of the historically constituted visual representations, and thought on the plural manifestations of heritage, we try to understand the memory strategies, the historicity of the concepts, and the construction of the political and cultural landscape and intellectual, visual, and social paths.
From a perspective of dialogue in which different fields interact without losing sight of their specificities, the research in development contemplates some main axes:
Visual culture problematizes the process of denaturalization of the artistic object and image, and investigates forms of recollection and forgetting, the operations of crystallization of memory in their different representations, materiality, habits, perceptions, and imagistic continuations.
Intellectual history addresses the discursive forms of thought, the social dimension of intellectual practices, the historicity of concepts, and the trajectory of thoughts, authors, and social groups, as well as their political, cultural, and social interventions in the public domain.
Heritage refers to the very constitution of the field, reflecting its political and institutional origins, its refraction with social practices, and the investigation of historical, artistic, industrial, modern, intangible heritage, as well as for reflecting the ways in which a possible past is acquired, valuated, and created.
About joining the program and the selection process:
The selection process for admission to the Graduate Program in History occurs every second semester, with the publication of a specific edict, published on the website, calling for applications for admission. Residents abroad, Brazilian or not, may also apply. In these cases, as part of the registration process, a statement must be provided indicating that the candidate resides abroad and the address of his/her residence. The interview portion of the process can be done via videoconference or Skype, depending on the technical conditions at the time of the interview.
A quarter of the available admissions offers are reserved for self-declared black (black and brown) candidates and indigenous people. The following statement provides a definition of black, brown, and indigenous identity according to Complementary Law n. 1,259 of January 15, 2015 of the state of São Paulo:
Anyone who is self-declared [black, brown, or indigenous] and shall take part in the public examinations on equal terms with the other candidates as regards the content of the tests and the performance evaluation (Article 3). The candidate must declare, at the time of registration for the public contest [for admission], that he/she is black, brown, or indigenous (Article 4)