My main areas of expertise are the history of Brazilian historiography and the epistemology of historiography. As I understand them, the history of historiography and the philosophy of history are deeply connected. On the one hand, normative concerns about historical knowledge must be able to account for the various kinds of history in which historians are interested. On the other, the history of historiography is at its best when it shows us the limits of what we can know about the past in any given historical context.
I also created and maintain the Digital Catalog for History Theses and Dissertations defended in Brazil between 1942 and 2000.
a social epistemology of historiography: trust, trustworthiness, and historical knowledge
Historical knowledge fundamentally depends on the trust relationships between historians and their peers as well as between historians and their readers. Debates among historians are usually hermeneutical, that is, they are usually motivated by differences in interpretation, approach, or conceptual framework. To raise suspicion about a historian’s research integrity is rare, and it is costly for both the individuals involved and the field as a whole. This suggests that unless we have substantive evidence of misconduct or other ethical issues, we tend to trust our peers to have performed their work conscientiously and in good faith. On another level, our lay readers might not always know well enough the relevant sources and the literature we use to support our arguments, and as such will hardly be able to assess our statements accordingly. In fact, most of our historical knowledge is acquired in such a way that we trust our history teachers and books to fulfill their promises and to tell us a “true story”, as French philosopher Paul Ricoeur has written. This project explores the functioning of these trust relationships that make historical knowledge possible, with special attention to the entanglement of ethics and epistemology in the production, acquisition, and transmission of such knowledge.
digital catalog for history theses and dissertations
The Digital Catalog for History Theses and Dissertations compiles information about all History MA and PhD theses defended in Brazil between 1942 and 2000. It has been invaluable in supporting researchers interested in the history of Brazilian historiography as well as those who want to explore older material of their chosen historical specialty.
The back-end runs with Django, a versatile framework for Python web development, and a MySQL database. I have personally developed and maintained the website since its launching in 2019.