Manuel João Ramos

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Manuel João Ramos
Manuel João Ramos in Gondar, 2005. Photo by Hervé Pennec
Born (1960-05-08) May 8, 1960 (age 58)
ResidenceLisbon, Portugal
Alma materUniversidade Nova de Lisboa (BA),
Universidade Nova de Lisboa (MsC),
Scientific career
Ethiopian Studies,
Mythology Symbolism,
Doctoral advisorJosé Carlos Gomes da Silva [pt] (ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon)
Manuel João Ramos in Gondar, 2005. Photo by Hervé Pennec

Manuel João Mendes Silva Ramos (born 1960) is a Portuguese anthropologist, artist and civil rights advocate.[1] As an author, he is widely held in libraries worldwide.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Ramos was born in Lisbon, Portugal, the eldest son of late actor Jacinto Ramos [pt], He took his BA in Anthropology in 1982, at New University of Lisbon, his MsC in Comparative Literary Studies in 1987, also at New University of Lisbon, and his PhD in Symbolic Anthropology at ISCTE-IUL.


He joined the Anthropology Department of ISCTE-IUL in 1984 as Assistant Lecturer, where he now teaches as Associate Professor, specializing in Symbolic Anthropology. He is also Principal Investigator at the Centre of International Studies of ISCTE-IUL (formerly Centre of African Studies, Centro_de_Estudos_Africanos CEA-ISCTE [pt]), and its subdirector since 2006. He is the head of the Central Library of African Studies, a MERIL research building located at the ISCTE-IUL's Library. In 2009, he was elected to the board of directors of AEGIS.

Ramos has maintained a parallel career as draftsman and illustrator, working for Portuguese periodicals, frequently with writer Rui Zink [pt].[3] Part of his illustration work has been published in the form of travel journals.

Since the death of his eldest daughter in a car crash in 1998,[4] he has participated in the cause of road risk reduction and self-mobilization for more just and sustainable forms of mobility. He is the head of the Portuguese NGO Association of Self-Mobilized Citizens. These activities led hims election as councillor of Lisbon City Council in a citizen's list.[5][6] He became vice-president of the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) in 2008 and later member of the board of directors of the Global Alliance of Road Safety NGOs. He is presently FEVR's representative at the UN Road Safety Collaboration UNRSC, a UN consultative forum and partnership.

Main works[edit]

Ramos' publications in the area of Anthropology include studies in Christian symbolism and mythology (his Essays in Christian Mythology: the metamorphoses of Prester John, first published in Portuguese in 1998, were translated in English in 2006) and research in Ethiopian oral traditions (Histórias Etíopes: Diário de Viagem, 2000, new edition in 2010). With historians Isabel Boavida and Hervé Pennec, he published a scholarly edition of the História da Etiópia of Jesuit father Pedro Páez, first in Portuguese in 2008, in the collection of Obras Primas da Literatura Portuguesa, and then at the Hakluyt Society's third series' collection. The latter was translated by Christopher Tribe, with the title Pedro Páez's History of Ethiopia, 1622, in two volumes.[7][8]


Books and book chapters[edit]

  • Ensaios de mitologia cristã: o Preste João e a reversibilidade simbólica. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 1997.
  • "Machiavellian Empowerment and Disempowerment. The Violent Struggle for Power in 17th Century Ethiopia", in Angela Cheater (ed.), The Anthropology of Power: Empowerment and Disempowerment in Changing Structures. London - New York: Routledge, 1999.
  • Histórias Etíopes: Diário de viagem. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 2000.
  • Sinais do Trânsito. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 2000.[9]
  • Essays in Christian Mythology: the metamorphoses of Prester John. Langham: University Press of America, 2006.
  • Memórias dos Pescadores de Sesimbra: Santiago de Sesimbra no Início dos Anos Oitenta do Séc. XX. Memórias da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa 10. Lisbon: SGL, 2009.
  • Histórias Etíopes: Diário de Viagem. Lisbon: Edições Tinta da China, 2010 (Second edition).

Edited volumes[edit]

  • Carta do Preste João das Índias: versões medievais latinas, edited and introducred by M.J. Ramos, translated from the Latim by Leonor Buescu [pt]. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 1998.
  • A Pintura Narrativa Etíope: Narrative Art in Ethiopia. With João Paulo Cotrim. Lisbon: Bedeteca de Lisboa - Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, 2000.
  • A Matéria do património: memórias e identidades. Lisbon: Colibri, 2003.
  • Konso-Harar: fotoetnografias na Etiópia. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 2003.
  • The Indigenous and the Foreign in Christian Ethiopian Art: On Portuguese-Ethiopian contacts in the 16th-17th centuries. With Isabel Boavida. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.
  • Espírito de missão, thematic number of Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, 15. With Rodolfo Soares. Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Africanos - ISCTE, 2008.
  • The Walker and the City. With Mário J. Alves. Lisbon: Associação de Cidadãos Auto-Mobilizados, 2010.
  • Memória e Artifício: Matéria do património II. With António Medeiros . Memórias da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa 11. Lisbon: SGL, 2010.
  • Risco e trauma rodoviários em Portugal. Lisbon: Associação de Cidadãos Auto-Mobilizados, 2011.
  • Pedro Páez's History of Ethiopia, 1622, 2 vols. With Isabel Boavida and Hervé Pennec. Translated by Christopher Tribe. London: Hakluyt Society, 2011.
  • African Dynamics in a Multipolar World. With Ulf Engel. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Literary and artistic work[edit]

  • Os Surfistas, By Rui Zink; illustrations by Manuel João Ramos. Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote. 2002.
  • Major Alverca, By Manuel João Ramos and Rui Zink. Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2003.
  • The Boy Who didn't like Television, By Manuel João Ramos and Rui Zink. New York: McAdam/Cage, 2004.
  • Traços de Viagem, By Manuel João Ramos. Lisbon: Livraria Bertrand, 2009.



  1. ^ "ONU denuncia crimes contra a humanidade na Eritreia". RFI, Neidy Ribeiro Publicado RFI-Jun 9, 2016
  2. ^ "Ramos, Manuel João". Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Manuel João Ramos / Rui Zink: Major Alverca, review in
  4. ^ "Girl's death spurs action over Portugal's lethal highways", The Guardian, 8/03/1999
  5. ^ Resultados e Vereadores Eleitos – C. M. Lisboa., 15/07/2007
  6. ^ "Vereador sai zangado da CML", Correio da Manhã, 9/09/2008
  7. ^ Review of Pedro Páez’s History of Ethiopia, 1622 by Donald Crummey (The Catholic Historical Review)
  8. ^ Review of Páez's History of Ethiopia, 1622 by Leonardo Cohen (The Journal of African History)
  9. ^ Sinais do Trânsito

External links[edit]

M.J. Ramos' page at ISCTE-IUL