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Introducing: Margarida Borges

Margarida Borges has been working as a PhD candidate at the Leiden Institute for History since September 2011.

I come from Portugal. Since September I have been working as a PhD candidate at the Leiden Institute for History.

From the time I started my degree 'in applied arts' I was sure that I wanted to combine academic life with professional work experience. I could test my academic skills applying theoretical insights to real world problems when I used my knowledge to create new systems in a professional work environment. However, when I engaged in urban studies to obtain my second degree, I was challenged to test my knowledge while working in the ‘real world’ of urban planning. At that time I came across a completely different reality which made me ask many questions connected to one central issue: how to provide for the future development of a city without knowing its history? While being absorbed in this 'problematic' I was guided by Prof. José Manuel Fernandes* into the study of the History of Urbanism of Portuguese Expansion and started to formulate my hypotheses for a PhD research proposal. So, after several years of academia combined with professional experience, I decided to immerse myself completely in academic life. I applied for a PhD position at the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University where I was welcomed by Prof. dr. Jos Gommans and dr. Cátia Antunes who will act as my supervisors.

Currently, I am examining the Portuguese and Dutch cultural influences in the oriental overseas territories between the 16th and 18th centuries. The research aims to further extend the Urban History’s current knowledge of these territories using a comparative framework to analyze Portuguese and Dutch urban developments in a selected range of colonial cities. These are Old Goa, Batavia (Jakarta), Cochin (Kochi), Colombo and Malacca (Melaka). I am confident that I will enjoy working on this project, challenged by the stimulating intellectual environment of Leiden University.

*Professor in History of Architecture and Urbanism at Technical University of Lisbon - Department of History and Theory of Architecture.

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