Representations of Technoscience


The goals of this seminar can be summarized in the following manner:


(i)                learning plan/knowledge acquisition:


  • understand the interdisciplinary nature of science and literature/Representations of Technoscience as a paradigmatic field in regard to other areas of knowledge-production that profile in turn their own now-well-established, now-emerging interdisciplinary perspectives
  • comprehend pertinent concepts concerning the reception and production of literary texts, thereby grasping the text as a complex cross-roads of operations: methodological field, semiotic system and hermeneutical dynamic
  • discern the mechanisms and strategies by which the appropriation /translation/transposition of discipline-specific knowledge “travels” to other areas of cultural praxis, for example, scientific and/or techno-scientific concepts to narrative, poetic and dramatic forms


(ii) skills acquisition plan:


  • develop a dynamic perspective concerning the production of knowledge in an interdisciplinary context, whether in science and literature/Representations of Technoscience or in interdisciplinary configurations arising from other investigative and knowledge-producing areas
  • read literary works utilizing and exploring diverse critical and interpretative tools
  • contextualize specific literary works in the light of corresponding ideas and concepts in the area of science and techno-science, thereby fomenting a more open dialogue between heterogeneous knowledge domains








General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Paula Pires dos Santos Diogo


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 56

Teaching language



Admission into the doctoral program.



Beer. “Science and Literature”; Benjamin. Sobre Arte, Técnica, Linguagem e Política; Berlin. A Apoteose da Vontade Romântica; Brecht. Teatro Completo Vida de GalileuA Enciclopédia ; Gedeão. Poemas Escolhidos; Goethe. Fausto; Heidegger. Língua de tradição e língua técnica; Jonas. The Phenomenon of Life, Toward a Philosophical Biology; Kafka. A Metamorfose; Lecourt. Humano Pós-Humano; Lyotard. A Condição Pós-moderna; Ortega y Gasset. Meditação sobre a técnica; Pessoa. Álvaro de Campos, Ricoeur. Teoria da Interpretação; Tillich. “The Effects of Space Exploration on Man’s Condition and Stature” and “Decline and Validity of the Idea of Progress”

Teaching method

Teaching method is diversified and includes, among other aspects:

* exposes,

* group discussion and critical analysis of texts and relevant topics;

* research and systematiation of relevant scientific materials

Evaluation method

Evaluation is continuous:

participation in weekly seminars

presentation of a specific concept germane to the area of (aestetic and theoretical) representation of techno-science in the area with power point

the preparation and completion of an research pape

Subject matter

1. Approaches to the nature and practice of Interdisciplinarity


1.1 Theoretical and historical approaches. 1.2. Reading and analysis from works by Roald Haffmann (poet and chemist), Hans Magnus Enzensberger (philosopher, mathematician and poet), Frnacis Ponge (poet) et al. 1.3. Development of an analytical, interpretative and theoretical praxis.


General and Theoretical Readings:

  • Caraça, Bento de Jesus. Cultura e Emancipação, coor. Luís Augusto Costa Dias, Helena Neves e António Pedro Pita, (coord.). Centro de Estudos Interdisciplinares do Século XX. Porto: Campo das Letras, 2002.
  • Languages of Nature, Ludmilla Jordanova (ed.). London: Free Association Books, 1986.
  • Moran, Joe, Interdisciplinarity. London and Nova Iorque: Routledge, 2002.
  • Ricoeur, Paul. Teoria da Interpretação, trad. Artur Morão. Lisboa: Edições 70, 1996.
  • Swirsky, Peter, Between Literature and Science, Poe, Lem, and Explorations in Aesthetics, Cognitive Science, and Literary Knowledge. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000.


2. Science and Poetry: Nostalgia, Resistance and Strategies of Appropriation of Scientific Rationality in Poetry 


Diachronic, genological and thematic approaches to works (excerpts and/or complete) by Lucretius, Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Alvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa’s heteronymic alter egos), António Gedeão.


General and Theoretical Readings:


  • Berlin, Isaiah. A Apoteose da Vontade Romântica, trans. Teresa Curvelo. Lisboa: Editorial Bizâncio, 1999.
  • ----------. Vico e Herder, trans. Juan Antonio Gili Sobrinho. Brasília: Editora Universidade de Brasília, 1982.
  • Weber, Max. Ciência e Política, Duas Vocações, trans. Leonidas Hegenberg and Octany Silveira da Mota. São Paulo: Editora Cultrix, s/d.

3. The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Microcosm and Macrocosm from the Enlightenment Era to Goethe 

Authors: Galileu, Diálogo dos Grandes Sistemas. Gallileo “read” by Bertolt Brecht and Italo Calvino.   

Goethe, FaustoFausto “read” by Fernando Pessoa.

Film: Fausto (1926) de F.W. Murnau (excerpts)


General and Theoretical Readings:


  • Cassirer, Ernst, A Filosofia do Iluminismo, trans. Álvaro Cabral. Campinas, SP, Brasil: Editora da Unicamp, 1997.


  • Goethe on Science, Jeremy Naydler (intro.). Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1996.


  • Goethe, A Metamorfose das Plantas, Maria Filomena Molder (trans. and intro.). Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional – Casa da Moeda, 1992.


  • Ortega y Gasset, José. Em Torno a Galileu esquema das crises, trad. Luiz Felipe Alves Esteves. Rio De Janeiro, Brasil: Petrópolis, 1989. 


  • ----------. Meditación de la técnica y otros ensayos sobre ciencia y  filosofia. Madrid: Revista de Occidente, [1939], 1982.


  • Whitehead, Alfred North, Science and the Modern World. London: Free Association Books, 1985.

4. The Nineteenth Century: The Metamorphoses of Matter in Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism  

Excerpts from works by William Wadsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, P.B. Shelley Mary Shelley, Gustave Flaubert, Antero de Quental, Émile Zola, Fiódor Dostoevsky, Eça de Queirós et al.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Eça de Querós’ “Civilização”

Emile Zola’s A Besta Humana and Ecrits sur le roman naturaliste

Films:  The Island of Dr. Moreau de John Frankenheimer (film based on the eponymous work by H.G. Wells)

Frankenstein (1931) de James Whale (excerpts)


General and Theoretical Readings:


  • Chapple, J. A. V., Science and Literature in the Nineteenth Century. London: Macmillan Education, 1986.
  • Frankenstein, Creation and Monstrosity, Stephen Bann (ed). London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 1994.
  • Romantic Literature, Jennifer Breen and Mary Noble (eds). London: Arnold, 2002.
  • Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, The Railway Journey, The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century. Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 1986.
  • Zola, Emile, Écrits sur le roman naturaliste. Paris: Pocket, 1999. 


5. The Twentieth Century: Modernism, Futurism and the Modern Urban Imagination  

Poetry and Prose: Fernando Pessoa/Álvaro de Campos and the metaphysics of machinery, Spengler and the Faustian personality, Mikhail Bulgakov; Franz Kafka and the modern weave of social order and mythic disorder. The transcendence of in-transcendence: A Metamorfose


Primo Levi: O Sistema Periódico and other works by the same author (excerpts)


General and Theoretical Readings:


  • Modernism, Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane (eds.). Penguin: 1981.
  • Vargish, Thomas e Delo E. Mook. Inside Modernism, Relativity Theory, Cubism, Narrative. New Haven e Londres: Yale University Press, 1999.

6. Science and Literature as Dramatic Form

Using as our starting-point the founding text on the mimetic arts, i.e., Aristotle’s Poetics, we examine new configurations of dramaturgy written under the impact of modern theoretical and experimental sciences.

Georg Buchner, Woyzeck

Bertolt Brecht, Vida de Galileu

Eugène Ionesco, A Lição

Os Irmãos Capek, R.U.R


7. The Interdisciplinarity between Science, Literature and Film


The processes of permutation and reinvention of the mythic imagination in cinematographic narrative with an emphasis given to science fiction, The film as confluence of cinematographic technique, visual characterization of the techno-scientific society and dramatization of aspects of our post-Enlightenment modernity.


Excerpts from some of the following films, in conjunction with their literary sources, will be studied:


Metropolis (Fritz Lang) (literary source: Thea von Harbou)

Solaris (Tarkovsky) (literary source: Stanislaw Lem)

Os Pássaros (Hitchcock) (literary source: Daphne du Maurier)

A Máquina do Tempo (Simon Wells) (literary source: H.G. Wells)

K-Pax (Iain Softley) (literary source: Gene Brewer)

Equilibrium (Kurt Wimmer) (literary source: Kurt Wimmer)

Sonhos (Akira Kurosawa) (literary source. Akira Kurosawa)

Rapsódia em Agosto (literary source: Akira Kurosawa)

Eu, Robot (Alex Proyas) (literary source: Isaac Azimov)

Woyzeck (Werner Herzog) (literary source: Georg Büchner)



 8. Science, Literature and the Classroom


Reflections on pedagogical strategies for the promotion of an interdisciplinary future. Steps toward future expanded seminars  in Science and Literature.


General and Theoretical Readings:


  • Cassirer, Ernst. Ensaio Sobre O Homem, trans. Carlos Branco. Lisboa: Guimarães Editores, 1995.


  • Chaitin, Gregory J. Conversas Com Um Matemático Matemática, Arte, Ciência e os Limites da Razão, trans. Leonor Moreira. Lisboa: Gradiva, 2003.


Programs where the course is taught: