Cultural Heritage: History, Memory, and Society
This line of research equips students to problematize how we construct our recognition and valorization of certain records and objects as items to be preserved down through time. Its prime goal is to explore the concept of heritage and understand why modern societies assign particular objects to this category. Another major concern is understanding the relation between professional practices and the production of a material culture that ultimately serves as a kind of mediation for a memory of these practices in the past. This discussion emphasizes the interface between memory and heritage, especially material and immaterial culture in science and health, their mediations, and their importance to institutional processes.
This research line welcomes both work that reflects on how health precepts are translated in architectural production as well as work that can contribute to cementing a field of knowledge on the historical relations between architecture, health, and science, while also attending to the recognition of the heritage value of health buildings. The ultimate goal is to encourage reflection on preservation policies within the universe of heritage preservation, including the criteria used in selecting assets, the justifications for protection, and the actors in question, such as society itself and State agents.
Within this line, professionals are trained to work in areas related to cultural heritage in science and health within its various spaces, fields, and territories and through its diverse material forms. Another concern is heritage education in the public space of civil society in response to different social, professional, and organizational demands.
A further overriding goal is to contribute to issues of valorization, preservation, identity, and citizenship related to heritage work at public and private institutions and within social groups; initiatives in heritage education and the study of the public use of heritage through products such as exhibits, books, and other materials; and the valorization and dissemination of collections. Comparative research is also welcome, for example, research on Luso-Brazilian cultural heritage. Lastly, this line of research endeavors to discuss the preservation and management of cultural heritage in science and health from the perspective of its construction.
Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Management
This line of research fosters studies and products that address today’s debate about the management of cultural heritage, including the operations, procedures, and actors involved in producing, establishing, organizing, using, and safekeeping the institutional and personal archives that have gained form through practices related to the fields of science and health.
One topic of special interest are the points of convergence and divergence between models of institutions that safeguard collections, as explored through studies on the acquisition, documentation, conservation, and restoration of cultural assets and the organization of, access to, and dissemination of archives and document collections that make up heritage in science and health. In order to endow students with a critical, nuanced understanding both of the disciplinary logic underpinning institutions that safeguard collections as well as of their management methodologies and techniques, this line of research promotes critical reflection on the application of the concepts of record, documentation, archive, collection, and information at the level of the institutions that hold and disseminate historical collections: archives, libraries, museums, and centers for documentation.
Another topic of interest refers to the planning and management of initiatives to mitigate the deterioration of material heritage, such as risk management for preventive conservation to reduce the need for the restoration of cultural assets. In terms of the organization of collections, there is a focus on theory and methodology in the technical treatment of archives and collections as regards their informational dimensions, including the identification of record content and context, along with classification, cataloguing, description, and online placement of cultural assets.
Students are encouraged to engage in reflective thinking and are taught the technical skills needed to manage collections of historical value. This two-pronged educational approach furnishes students with the tools needed to identify the historicity of objects and records; the context in which they were produced, used, and circulated; and the aspects that classify them as objects of cultural heritage worth preserving. Students leave the program highly qualified to develop integrated projects for organizing and accessing cultural heritage and conserving and preserving it.
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