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Saab Center for Portuguese Studies

Engaging In Portuguese Culture

Founded in 2013, with generous gift from the Saab Family Fund, the Saab Center for Portuguese Studies promotes the multidisciplinary study of the language, literature and culture of the vast and varied Portuguese speaking world comprised of over 250 million people in eight countries on four continents and its diaspora.

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and Covid-19: World-Changing Events and Their Aftermaths

Rui Tavares is a historian and a professor of Philosophy of History at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He was the Gulbenkian / Saab Visiting Professor in Portuguese Studies at UMass Lowell in Spring 2020.

Rui Tavares

Thursday, February 25 at 5 p.m. via Zoom

Presented by the Saab Center for Portuguese Studies, in partnership with the UMass Lowell History Department

A lecture by Rui Tavares, Writer, historian and professor of Philosophy of History, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and Covid-19 Online Registration

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What do Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States, and Maximilien Robespierre, leader of the Reign of Terror in the French Republic, have in common? The answer is that both were born shortly before or after the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. Is it an accident that the generation born around the 1755 catastrophe became—although in quite different ways, in the two cases mentioned above—a revolutionary generation? There are events of such magnitude that they shape the worldview in which an entire generation will be formed, meaning they will no longer function under the same assumptions their parents lived by. This is why long-term consequences of a world-changing event can be somewhat delayed: after all, 21 years passed between the Great Earthquake and the American Revolution and 34 before the French Revolution. This talk concludes with some questions: can such dramatic changes happen again? And, if so, might the Covid-19 pandemic be the trigger event? Given the chequered history of revolutions and their aftermaths, what could follow?

Rui Tavares is a historian and a professor of Philosophy of History at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He was the Gulbenkian / Saab Visiting Professor in Portuguese Studies at UMass Lowell in Spring 2020. Among his seven books is The Enlightened Censor, on censorship in the Portuguese Enlightenment regime of the Marquis de Pombal. He has also translated Giordano Bruno’s On Magic and Voltaire’s Candide. He was Member of the European Parliament (2009-2014). Among his publications on European Union affairs is The Irony of the European Project (2012). He is founder of the Portuguese political party Livre and a columnist at the leading daily newspaper Público.

More Information

For more information, write to Natália Melo by email: natalia_melo@uml.edu or call 978-934-5199.

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and Covid-19 Online Registration

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