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Peter Haysom

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Regionalism and Resistance: Writing the Region in 20th Century Portuguese Fiction

My research is concerned with the issues of regionalism, regional identity and cultural geography in modern Portuguese literature. My thesis frames “regionalism” as an ideological project as opposed to a purely aesthetic choice employed by Portuguese authors of that period. To this end, my project studies the relationship between geography and ideological outlook in selected novels by Aquilino Ribeiro, Hélia Correia and José Saramago, which together span the entirety of the twentieth century.

Considering changing political attitudes to central Government within 20th Century Portugal, as well as broader circumstances of social and economic change in the context of increasing globalisation, this comparative research will study the role of the region in informing Portuguese cultural identity through novels.

This project will contemplate political theory and ideas of hegemony, in order to explore the tensions between centres and margins, urban and rural communities and capitals and “provinces”. The relevance of this research lies in the ongoing controversy in Portugal concerning de-centralisation and the intervention of Lisbon’s government in marginal rural areas, as well as broader cultural divisions in Western nations between so-called “metropolitan elites” and the values of local/regional communities. My thesis aims to contribute to these debates by evaluating regional identity (or identities) in a geographically small, and yet diverse and multi-faceted, European nation.

Research Area

  • Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin Studies
  • Languages and Literature


  • "'To form a barricade with our bodies': the localised body/bodies in New Portuguese Letters", Cadernos de Literatura Comparada 39: Intersexualidades em Questão, December 2018, pp.167-181
  •  "'Estes povos pastoris': entre a aldeia de Vilarinho da Furna e a literatura de Miguel Torga", Cadernos de Literatura Comparada 38: Espaços Literários e Territórios Críticos, June 2018, pp.247-270
  • "'Obsessiva eternidade': o fim do mundo rural, segundo Aquilino Ribeiro", in AA.VV., Materiais para o Fim do Mundo 7. Porto: Instituto de Literatura Comparada Margarida Losa, 2017, pp.5-15


  • "When the Inland Howls/Howled: Reading Rural Voices Lost through Aquilino Ribeiro's Quando os Lobos Uivam", paper given at the Modern Languages Association International Symposium 2019, July 2019 (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
  • "'São lustres no vestíbulo das serras': Rui Lage's (re)imagining of rural Portugal in Estrada Nacional", paper given at the Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies Postgraduate Community Forum 2019, June 2019 (University of Nottingham)

  • "The death of a placeless margin? Questioning the end of the rural world and the rise of the contemporary urban 'non-place' in José Saramago's The Cave", paper given at Place and Placelessness: the 12th Annual Conference of the Landscape, Space and Place Research Group, September 2018 (University of Nottingham)

  • "'Uma rebeldia barata': reading regional identity through regionalist politics during Portugal's First Republic and Aquilino Ribeiro's early 'regionalist' novels", paper given at Breaking the Wall: Identity and Border Crossing in the Luso-Hispanic World - The Ohio State University's 21st Annual Hispanic & Lusophone Studies Symposium, March 2018 (Ohio State University)

  • "Lamenting the end of a placeless margin: rural decay and the threat of modern urban (?) capitalism in José Saramago's The Cave", paper given at Orientations: A Conference of Narrative and Place, May 2018 (University of Nottingham)

  • "'Raised from the ground' at last? Reading resilience and revolution in José Saramago's Levantado do Chão", paper given at the 2nd Conference of the Journal of Languages, Texts and Society, 2018 (University of Nottingham)

  • "Location, location, NOT location: Changing (?) notions of rural identity, between José Saramago's Levantado do Chão and A Caverna", paper given at the Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies Postgraduate Community Forum 2018, June 2018 (University of Nottingham)
  • "'Estes povos pastoris': a aldeia de Vilarinho da Furna e a literatura de Miguel Torga", paper given at the Geopoetics 2017 International Conference: Literary Spaces and Critical Territories, June 2017 (University of Porto)
  • "'Formar um bloco com os nossos corpos': o corpo localizado em Novas Cartas Portuguesas", paper given at Intersexualities: Crossing Bodies, Crossing Borders, March 2017 (University of Porto)

Public Engagement & Impact

  • "Portuguese Taster Session", talk given to Brockington College Lecture Club, Leicestershire, March 2019
  • "Exploring regional identity in 20th century Portuguese novels", talk given at Nottingham PubhD #46, January 2018

Other Research Interests

  • Portuguese, Brazilian & Lusophone African literature
  • Portuguese, Brazilian & Lusophone African history
  • Hispanic & Lusophone protest music
  • Feminist theory - "Politics of Location" & Intersectionality
  • Geocriticism & Literary Geography


  • Association of British and Irish Lusitanists, Postgraduate Student Membership (2019-20)
  • Modern Languages Association, Graduate Student Membership (2019-20)

I am currently a Teaching Affiliate at the University of Nottingham (Department of Modern Languages & Cultures), teaching on Lusophone Studies modules in all Undergraduate levels.