03 Dec 2021  |   05:09am IST

Dr. Ângela Barreto Xavier wins Infosys Prize 2021 for her contributions in the field of Humanities

Her work in the humanities has attracted attention from the corporate which has been awarded meritorious work for thirteen years
Dr. Ângela Barreto Xavier wins Infosys Prize 2021 for her contributions in the field of Humanities

Team Café

Goa’s very own Dr Angela Barreto

Xavier has won the prestigious Infosys Prize 2021 for her work in the field of humanities. The The Infosys Science Foundation awards the winners of the Infosys Prize 2021 today for their contributions to science and research in six fields -Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.

The work of the laureates this year addressed some of the biggest challenges of the time like studying the effects of climate change on fragile ecosystems and contributing to more effective conservation strategies, designing a robust indigenous platform for rapid testing of deadly diseases like COVID-19 and TB, understanding the nuclear force to better harness nuclear energy for the benefit of humankind, and addressing issues such as sexual violence and jurisprudence in our society. Winners were felicitated by the Chief Guest, Prof. Gagandeep Kang FRS, Professor at CMC Vellore, Infosys Prize laureate 2016, and one of India’s leading virologists. The award comprises a pure gold medal, a citation and a prize-purse of USD 100,000, tax free in India. The laureates were chosen from a competitive pool of 201 nominations received this year. The winners of the Infosys Prize 2021 were identified by an accomplished jury of scholars and professors from some of the most prestigious universities across the world.

The Infosys Prize 2021 in Humanities was awarded to Dr. Ângela Barreto Xavier from the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal, for her deeply researched and sophisticated analysis of conversion and violence in the Portuguese empire in India, especially Goa. From Margao, her extensive body of writings in both English and Portuguese have shown Dr. Xavier to be an important and original voice on colonial and imperial history. She has published intensively during her research career: two books as a single author, three books as a co-author and co-edited three other books. She has also participated in several projects, two of them with digital databases as outputs. In Goa, she conducted a one credit course for postgraduate students on ‘Goa in the making of the Portuguese empire (16th -18th centuries)’ at the Goa University. This course attempted to recover the voices of and the role played by the different social groups involved in these imperial dynamics. The course was divided into two parts with an introductory session, and visit to the Panjim Central Library, and three sessions dedicated to the theme ‘Goans in the construction of the Portuguese empire’, and three other sessions on ‘Cultural production of Goa’.

After completing six sessions in Goa University, her seventh and final session was held at Museum of Goa, Pilerne on the topic ‘Writing the politics of empire from Goa: Goans of Indian origin’. This session dealt with writings of Goans of Indian origin with the intentionality of challenging the imperial order, or to upgrading the position of certain social groups in the imperial architecture. As known until now, the oldest testimonies of these writings go back to the 17th century, and their authors were clerics. In order to communicate with the authorities of the Portuguese empire, these Goan authors choose to write in Portuguese, following the protocols of Portuguese literature. She visits Goa regularly.

Dr Angela Barreto Xavier is a Researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICSUL), Portugal. She holds a PhD in History and Civilisation from the European University Institute, a Master in Political and Cultural History from the New University of Lisbon and a History and Art History Degree from the New University of Lisbon. Her research interests include the history of political ideas and the cultural history of early-modern empires, namely the problems related to political culture, visual culture and cultural geopolitics. She was Deputy Director of the Institute of Social Sciences at ICSUL between May 2014 and May 2016, and the Head of ICS Library between 2011 and 2014. She taught at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa and has been Maître de Conférences Invitée na École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and Visiting Scholar at the History Department of Harvard University. She teaches at the PhD Programme PIUDHist – Change and Continuity in a Global World, an inter-university Portuguese PhD programme in History.

Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, said, “The Infosys Science Foundation has recognized excellence for the last 13 years. By recognizing and celebrating the creativity and innovation of these remarkable individuals, we hope to inspire and encourage others and society at large. While results may not always be immediately apparent, we must remember that the long arc of knowledge, discovery, and invention will benefit mankind in unexpected ways as we have seen with mRNA vaccines during this COVID crisis. With the Infosys Prize, we not only reward apparent breakthroughs but also the far-reaching potential of the work of these stellar researchers and scholars.”