Following a methodological perspective of Connected Histories and Comparative History, this panel aims to analyze the state strategies of Brazilian and Portuguese governments to put forward an international scope program of national self-fashioning and heritage promotion in the nineteenth century.
Before the birth of a cultural diplomacy specially designed to work on the increasing of international reputation of so called peripheral countries in occidental world-space, the nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of a significant amount of cultural activities, put forward from both public or private initiative, aiming to boost better knowledge of these national cultures abroad. The international circulation of people and the globalization of interchanges and cultural practices are part of that bigger process of (re)construction and strengthening of national cultures. This dual reality, apparently paradoxical, determines the unprecedented concern of cultural elites and governments on working towards international recognition of what they believed to be a neglected national heritage, due to youth-complexes (Brazil) or due to size and international constraints (Portugal). As new forms of displaying the greatness of nations, World Exhibitions and International Congresses are some of the most spectacular manifestations of this program of national self-fashioning and promotion. A program that often assumed more discreet shape in form of books translations, articles and essays written and published abroad, etc. With a past and a common language, Portugal and Brazil were compelled to work alongside in order to fight their lack of visibility and those processes should be subject of a cross analysis likely to illustrate the strategies of distinction and the management of this common heritage. As rivals or as partners, they committed themselves to this venture in a very serious way, not just in cultural but also in political terms.