Ana Cristina Nogueira da Silva


I am an interdisciplinary historian, Associate Professor of NOVA School of Law (NSL)
and a researcher of the CEDIS and the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS-UL).
I graduated in History at NOVA FCSH in 1990 and received my MA in Social Sciences from ICS-UL in 1997. During this period, I was part of a research team on institutional and legal history led by António Manuel Hespanha. In 1998 I joined NSL, where I obtained my PhD in History of Law.

Following my earlier experience as a member of research projects with lasting international impact, I developed my studies on colonial legal experiences by establishing and leading interdisciplinary teams. I was Co-Principal Investigator of the projects “The Government of Others” and “Counting Colonial Populations” and Principal Investigator of the project “Legal Pluralism in the Portuguese Empire”. In 2023 I received my Aggregation in Analysis of Law.

I have also kept a deep commitment to nurturing the strengths of the NSL community by serving in leadership positions such as Vice-President of the Scientific Council and board member and interim Director of CEDIS, and by participating in its Pedagogical Council and in approximately 16 NSL working groups. In 2021 I was elected to the NOVA University’s General Council. The impact of my work led to various appointments.

In 2015 I was invited by the European Research Council to evaluate proposals from the ERC Advanced Grant and I served as a member of the mock interview panel for the ERC Consolidator Grant organized by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. I was Deputy Director of Análise Social, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory and Visiting Scholar at the Facultad de Derecho/ Universidad Autonoma Madrid. Currently I am part of the editorial boards of Revista História do Direito of the Brazilian Institute of History of Law at the University of Paraná and of Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español




I have a strong publication record, including eleven books, two of which were co-authored and six as co-editor. I have organized thematic dossiers and authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters listed in Scopus and other reputable indexes and contributed with 10 entries to national and international encyclopaedias.

My investigations delve into topics on which I worked with a particular emphasis on challenging existing paradigms and providing empirical and conceptual insights. One of my key areas of focus is the political construction of territory, as evidenced by my book ‘O Modelo Espacial do Estado Moderno’ (1998), which originated from my MA studies and explores how the changing political culture of the 18th century challenged early modern conceptions of ordered spaces. I also published ‘A Construção jurídica dos territórios ultramarinos portugueses no século XIX’ (2017), which examines the legal constitution of Asian and African territories under Portuguese sovereignty in the nineteenth century. Furthermore, during a fellowship on the ‘Portugal Moderno’ project, I led the collection of extensive data on early modern Portuguese territory, which is now available at CIDEHUS Digital (

Other topics of my research are nineteenth century liberal political culture(s), imperial citizenship and constitutionalism and legal dimensions of colonialism in America, Africa and Asia. During my PhD studies I analysed 20th century colonial legal doctrine and its arguments in favour of racial criteria concerning access to citizenship in the Portuguese Empire. Anchored in critics against 19th century universalist and colour-blind legal principles aiming at normalizing racialized colonialism, those arguments turned my attention to the earlier liberal constitutional debates surrounding the legal status of people and territories in America, Africa, and Asia. In the book Constitucionalismo e Império (2009) I demonstrated how 20th century colonial discourses silenced the voices and agency of colonial subjects and were driven by misconceptions about 19th-century legal approaches to imperial citizenship. I also called attention to the role played by local elites of native origin in the construction of citizenship categories and in legal classifications of overseas territories and peoples. As co-PI of the project “The Government of Others” I explored the legal condition of the enslaved and their agency, the forced labour legal frameworks and the ambivalent legal status of free colonial subjects who were able to take advantage of colonial courts and law, either benefiting from the European presence or resisting against it (‘Universalism, Legal pluralism and Citizenship: Portuguese Imperial Policies in Citizenship and Law in the Nineteenth Century», 2016). I also studied the significance of 20th century indigenous legal statuses and the way they were used by colonizers and the colonized («Assimilacionismo e Assimilados no Império português’, 2016). As the Principal Investigator of the ‘Legal Pluralism’ project, I led an international work package that examined the coexistence of Portuguese and indigenous legal orders, bridging a critical gap in legal historiography by considering the role of non-European legal orders. One outcome of this work was the publication ‘Colonial Justice in Mozambique (1915-1954): Preserving and Changing Indigenous Customary Law’ (2023). My publications are extensively cited in national and international works on the political organization of space, on the Portuguese Empire and on colonial law studies, indicating the significance of my contributions in these fields.

In addition to publications, I have engaged in scholarly discussions and knowledge exchange
by presenting over 120 papers at national (70) and international (50) scientific meetings in prominent academic institutions in Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States of America, England and Brazil.

I have also coordinated databases of digitalized legal doctrine from the 19th and 20th
centuries and on colonial legislation from the 15th to the 20th centuries, making these
resources researchable to the broad public, following Open Access trends and increasing the outreach of my work, as in Arquivo Digital António Mauel Hespanha ( and in the websites
of the research projects (; (https://pluralismojuridiconoimperio.fd.unl

I also collaborated with projects hosted at Unicamp (Campinas) and at Université
Antilles (Guadeloupe), providing data to digital databases ‘Legislação: Trabalhadores e Trabalho em Portugal, Brasil e África ( ) and on law, regulations, practices and social



I teach a range of courses in the NSL study cycles, including Legal History, Political Ideas, and subjects related to Law and Society. The primary goal of these courses is to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between history, law, and citizenship studies.
I have taught postgraduate courses at ICS-UL and FCSH-UNL, where I co-organized a course on legal issues for social scientists. Furthermore, I have participated in postgraduate courses at international institutions such as the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Universidade de S. Catarina and other international institutions. I also taught courses on legal pluralism in prestigious African institutions such a Universidade Agostinho Neto in Angola and Escola Superior de Direito in Mozambique. These experiences allowed me to contribute both to providing additional context on legal pluralism in post-colonial Africa and a more informed cultural relationship between PALOP communities.

Throughout my career, I have been actively involved in supervising and evaluating master’s and PhD dissertations and mentoring doctoral and postdoctoral international students at CEDIS. The PhD students I am currently supervising have undertaken research placements, one of them funded by an International Doctoral College, of which I am the Leading Member of the Portuguese board.

As PI or Co-PI for multiple research projects, I have mentored researchers at different career stages. My involvement in sharing knowledge and expertise across national and international networks has offered valuable opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows to interact with senior researchers and engage in academic mobility and activities such as missions, contributions to conferences and writing to international audiences. The postdoctoral fellow involved in the project «Legal Pluralism in the Portuguese Empire,” who I led as PI, applied for the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (Münster) and is currently an expert on legal pluralism there.



I have a strong track record in peer review, having contributed to the evaluation of publications for national and international book publishers and indexed scientific journals. Additionally, I participated in interviews or peer reviewed ERC (European Research Council) and FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) proposals, prepared external evaluation reports for international doctoral theses and served as a jury member for international professorship and research grant competitions.

Over the years, I have invited foreign researchers to hold individual sessions and workshops with students at NSL and organized around 30 scientific national and international meetings in Portugal and abroad. Notably, I was actively involved in the establishment of the Luso-Spanish Meetings of Historians of Law and co-organized its 2019 3rd edition, held in Lisbon.

By leading the constitution of extensive digital archives with searchable historical, geographical, and legal sources, I have contributed to the development of critical tools for the study of early, modern and contemporary Portuguese legal history. With regard to recognition and appreciation of activities carried out by researchers, I have been a member of the jury for the selection of the best articles in the Revista Análise Social and have presented books at several launch sessions. I have also written book reviews, published articles on prominent figures in the field and served as Discussant in Portugal and abroad.



My research focus is on the role of law in the construction of power relations and inequality in colonial situations, with the aim of making a social impact regarding the recognition of colonial legacies. My ambition is to shed light on the historical roots of racism and social inequality in increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse contemporary societies. Both aspects are aligned with the United Nations’ objectives of reducing inequality and promoting social cohesion at national and transnational levels. I am committed to promoting these objectives while preserving accurate collective memory, as reflected in various activities, including:
Participating in meetings organized by municipalities and civil society associations, such
as Óbidos Criativa (exhibition Slavery and Racism).

Taking part in museum exhibitions, such as ‘Contar Áfricas’ and ‘Racismo e Cidadania’.
Teaching on courses organized by the History Teachers’ Association and on free courses org. by the newspaper Público and book publisher Tinta da China
Engaging in podcast communication by giving interviews
imp%C3%A9rios-tem-como), participating in debates and producing podcast series
Signing an ‘Open Letter’ on the ‘Museu das Descobertas,’ which was published in the
newspaper Expresso, and writing on the issue in that newspaper (2018).
Publishing texts in periodical magazines.



1822, Lisboa, Tinta-da-China, 2019. ISBN: 5602227309529-00009
This book, co-authored with an historian from Universidade de S. Paulo and written in a language accessible to broad audiences, emphasises the imperial dimension of the first Portuguese Constitutionalism as well as the challenges arising from imperial citizenship and the legacies of European and Portuguese colonial presence in America, Asia and Africa.

Imperios Ibéricos y representación política (siglos XIX-XX), Madrid, CSIC, 2021 ISBN: 978-84-00-10740-6. This co-edited work addresses the political agency of overseas elites of native and European origin in Iberic metropolitan Parliaments, giving new insights into the Empire and Iberian constitutional liberalism in a comparative approach.

Slave Subjectivities in the Iberian Worlds (16th-19th centuries), London, Brill, 2023.
ISBN: 978-90-04-68141-5.

This co-edited work addresses the methodological challenges scholars encounter in accessing the subjectivity of the enslaved, proposing alternative archives and documents such as trial records to study them. It represents an advance in understanding the life experiences of enslaved individuals, complementing my work on the legal status of slaves by highlighting their subjectivity and agency.

«António Hespanha, um historiador inquieto», Quaderni Fiorentini per la Storia del Pensiero Giuridico, 49, 2020, 457-471; «Recriações modernas da “Graça do Direito”», Análise Social, 241, 2022, 694-765; «Reler António Manuel Hespanha», Themis, Ano XX, 35, 2019, 201-315; «Introdução. Percursos da Vida e da obra de António M. Hespanha», Themis, Ano XX, 35, 2019, 201-220; «Porquê (e até onde) “matar o Estado”? in Estudos em Homenagem ao Professor António M. Hespanha, S. Paulo, Marcial Pons/Intersaberes, 2020, 117-139; “António M. Hespanha” in Dicionário da Independência do Brasil, S. Paulo, Biblioteca Mindlin, 2022, 440-442.
I began my scientific training under the guidance of António M. Hespanha, a pioneering figure in funded research teams in Portugal, and a prominent Portuguese historian and jurist who served as the Director of CEDIS during its early years. Following his passing in 2019, I commenced the writing of a set of texts and the organization of dossiers. These texts encompass aspects of his scientific career, as well as other facets of his life, the main topics of his monumental work, and the methodological and theoretical schools that influenced him. I also organized 3 Seminars on him.

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