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Science and power in the portuguese empire: an analysis of the trajectories of five border-settling astronomers of the eighteenth century

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Otavio Crozoletti Costa
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades (EACH)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Thomás Augusto Santoro Haddad; Heloisa Meireles Gesteira; Iris Kantor; Ermelinda Moutinho Pataca
Advisor: Thomás Augusto Santoro Haddad

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, after the signature of the Treaty of San Ildefonso, several delegations were dispatched to locally settle the boundaries between the South American possessions of the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns, employing astronomical methods. Among the astronomers officially appointed to the Portuguese expeditions were Francisco José de Lacerda e Almeida (1753-1798), António Pires da Silva Pontes Leme (1750-1805), Bento Sanches Dorta (1739-1795), Francisco de Oliveira Barbosa (1749-?) and José Simões de Carvalho (1752-1805). Born in Portugal or in Brazil, and graduated in the new mathematical course of the recently reformed University of Coimbra, these men of science would afterwards move to occupy either important positions in the administration of the empire, or become members of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, or at least gain close proximity to high-ranking agents of the state apparatus. At the same time, Portuguese enlightened reformism was consolidating an image of science and education as essential endeavors for a better understanding of the territories of the empire, in the hope of increasing agriculture, industry and trade. At the European level, a scientific field with a relative degree of autonomy was in turn starting to take shape, but reconversions of specific scientific capitals into political ones were still quite frequent. This dissertation intends to perform a prosopographic study about that group of Coimbra-educated, border-settling astronomers, aiming to identify, by the analysis of their trajectories, the reciprocal influences between the actors\' ties to political power-players and their range of possibilities of establishing a reputation in the scientific field (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/17965-7 - Science and power in the Portuguese Empire: a prosopographic analysis of the trajectories of five border-settling astronomers of the eighteenth century
Grantee:Otavio Crozoletti Costa
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master