(…) Onésimo Teotónio Almeida nasceu no Pico da Pedra, S. Miguel, Açores. É professor Catedrático, no Departamento de Estudos Portugueses e Brasileiros, da Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, onde foi director. Faculty Fellow, do Instituto de Estudos Internacionais Watson, e professor associado de Estudos de Ciência e Tecnologia da mesma universidade.
Foi o fundador da editora Gávea-Brow e editor da revista Gávea-Brow, cronista regular em vários meios de comunicação social portuguesa. Foi Vice-Presidente do Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities e da Associação internacional de Lusitanistas. Foi eleito membro da Academia Internacional de Cultura Portuguesa.
Este foi um ano particularmente activo para Onésimo Teotónio de Almeida. O último, “De Marx a Darwin. A desconfiança das ideologias”, com edição da Gradiva, é um livro de reflexões e questões, como escreve na contracapa, “interrogar-nos sobre as implicações teóricas (sobremodo no domínio da ética) do paradigma darwinista que no universo intelectual suplantou hoje o marxismo como explicação última do mundo”.
Em Dezembro, será publicado “O Peso do Hífen. Ensaios sobre a experiência luso-americana”, pela Imprensa das Ciências Sociais”, depois de ter sido responsável pela organização e introdução (com Leonor Simas) de “Eduíno de Jesus – a Ca(u)sa dos Açores em Lisboa”.
Ainda este ano, surgiram trabalhos seus, capítulos em livros e artigos em revistas, de entre os quais se deve destacar “Science during the Portuguese maritime discoveries – a telling case of interaction between experimenters and theoreticians”, no trabalho de Daniela Bleichmar, Paula De Vos, Kristin Huffine and Kevin Sheehan, de “Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800”, Stanford, University Press.
Acumularam-se ainda participações em conferências, colóquios e palestras, além de outras intervenções públicas, nos Estados Unidos e Europa, bem como a edição, direcção e co-direcção editorial e de teses de doutoramento e mestrado em universidades como Brown University, Universidade de Utreque, Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade de Paris.
Recebeu também em 2009 a Medalha de Mérito Cultural do Governo Regional dos Açores e a Medalha de Ouro da Cidade da Ribeira Grande.
Onésimo T. (Teotónio) Almeida was born in Pico da Pedra, S. Miguel, Azores, December 18,1946. Onésimo paraphrased a well-known line: “I am not a scientist and I do not even play one on TV”. Giving in to much insistence and being reminded that the term ‘science’ in Portugal is much broader than in the English-speaking world, the acclaimed humanist accepted to participate in this initiative of “Ciência Hoje”.
His PhD dissertation was in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, more specifically, its subject was the concept of ideology. “Since my adolescent years I had felt that the understanding of the concept was a must since in the 60’s and early 70’s there was a huge debate on the topic”, he reminds. In the course of writing his thesis, he realized that the real issue was broader, or deeper, and that the concept of worldview was more interesting and fruitful. “It boarded on key questions in epistemology and axiology”, he says and an interest in them has stayed with him ever since.
While a student in the Philosophy Department at Brown, he became involved in the creation of a Center for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies with a group of Brown professors who thought that Brown was a natural place for such a Center. He began teaching there while still a graduate student in Philosophy and, by the time he finished his degree, he was fully engaged in the new Center. For that reason he decided to accept the invitation to stay at Brown.
He started revisiting key issues in Portuguese cultural and intellectual history, while also teaching an interdisciplinary course on worldviews and values. He has continued doing the same ever since, teaching, lecturing, researching and writing on these topics and others that grew from them. Hence his many papers on Portuguese cultural identity. The revisitation of the issue of science in the time of the maritime discoveries is an outgrowth of these interests. Thus, he could summarize by saying that, “at the theoretical level, the issue of values has been fundamental in my research”.
Portugal and the issue of modernity in the Lusophone world is the area where he has been applying and testing his theoretical concerns.
Currently Onésimo T. Almeida is a Professor at the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and an Affiliate with the Wayland Collegium for Liberal Learning, a center for interdisciplinary studies, where he teaches a course on Values and Worldviews; the Watson Institute for International Studies; the History of Science Program; as well as with the Renaissance Studies Program, all at Brown.
Onésimo T. Almeida graduated from the Portuguese Catholic University, Lisbon, in 1972. He received his MA, in 1977, and in 1980 a PhD both in Philosophy, at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, where he has been teaching Portuguese Cultural and Intellectual History since 1975, and as a Full Professor since 1991. From 1992 to 2003 he was Chair of the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.
His grandmother was born in Providence in 1896, a few blocks from where he nowadays has his office. When she was five years old, she went to the Azores with her parents who returned for good. Since then, his family has been going back and forth. Onésimo’s immediate family immigrated in the 1960’s. He was the very last one to make the move in 1972, after three visits in earlier years, and after this decision he immediately started his graduate studies at Brown (Philosophy Department).
Author of more than one hundred and fifty essays published in various collective volumes and academic journals, and of hundreds of articles published in newspapers and other periodicals. Onésimo T. Almeida is a member of the editorial board of several professional journals, as well as a member of various professional organizations.
For many years he was a regular columnist for the Portuguese literary journal LER, and nowadays he continues to write frequently for the Portuguese Jornal de Letras, and contributes frequently to the Portuguese press in the US and Canada.
He was the founder, and continues to serve as director, of Gávea-Brown Publications, which publishes English translations of Portuguese literary works and of studies in Portuguese culture, and also founded and co-edits Gávea-Brown, a journal specializing in the recording of the Portuguese experience in North America. Recently, a joint-venture by Brown University and the University of Porto, created an e-Journal of Portuguese History, of which he is also co-editor.
He also participates actively in the TV media, being the host of a bi-monthly socio-cultural talk show (“Daqui e da Gente”) on the Portuguese Channel, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, since 1979. Throughout 2001-2003, he also hosted a weekly talk show (“Onésimo à conversa com…”) on RTP-Açores, later broadcast worldwide by RTP-International.
He has been always at Brown, even though he has taught at other institutions such as the University of California Santa Barbara, University of Massachusetts Boston and Dartmouth, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and the University of the Azores. Moreover, he has given hundreds of lectures, mostly throughout the United States and Canada, and all over Europe, as well as in Africa and Central and South America.
He works independently. In the near future, he inten
ds to start publishing a series of volumes collecting his most important articles on the issue of Portuguese cultural identity. He fills in that the first (A Obsessão da Portugalidade) should appear next year, followed by one on science and the Portuguese maritime discoveries. He admits, though, that he had promised them to the publisher (Gradiva, in Lisbon) quite some time ago.
He has more than a dozen students whose M.A.s and PhD theses he is presently directing or co-directing. They are not just Brown students but from Harvard, Utrecht, Perugia, Paris, as well as from various Portuguese universities.
His long term-goals are to continue doing what he is doing for as long as he can. Even if he were not to write anything new and he devoted his time to collecting and revising his articles for publication in book form, there should be a good dozen volumes, he says. However, he states he would like to devote some time to fiction writing. “I have always written short stories, crónicas, and plays, but throughout the years I have been keeping many detailed notes for novels”, he reveals.
His most recent books have been crónicas (Livro-me do Desassossego, Temas e Debates, 2006) and short stories (Aventuras de um Nabogador, Bertrand, 2007). A volume of short stories, Tales from the Tenth Island, translated by Professor David Brookshaw, was just published by Seagull/Faoileán, a joint publication from the University of Bristol (UK) and National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
“Someone once said that the Humanities is a field where there are people who are very good at what they do but nobody knows exactly what that is. I hope to belong to that group”, he answers when asked for which work he is best known amongst the scientific community.
When asked about “international renowned awards”, he replied that all the prizes he received are either Portuguese or Portuguese-American, therefore technically not “internationally renowned”. For instance, he was elected to the Academia Internacional de Cultura Portuguesa, and he received awards from the Portugal-US Chamber of Commerce and from PALCUS (Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the US. He has also received the decoration of “Oficial da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique” from the President of Portugal.
He is frequently invited to lecture in Portugal but, he believes that“given the sad situation of the job market and the budget shrinking presently going on in the Humanities in Portuguese universities, the more of us that stay abroad the better it is for those who remain in our homeland”.
Fonte: Revista Ciência Hoje:http://www.cienciahoje.pt/index.php?oid=22952&op=all
Crédito imagem:Blog Comunidades