Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511-2011, Volume 1: The Making of the Luso-Asian World: Intricacies of Engagement

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive on 2012-10-04 05:05Z by Steven

Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511-2011, Volume 1: The Making of the Luso-Asian World: Intricacies of Engagement

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
323 pages
Soft cover ISBN: 978-981-4345-25-5
See Volume 1 here.

Edited by:

Laura Jarnagin, Visiting Professorial Fellow
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore
also Associate Professor Emerita in the Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies at Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado)

“In 1511, a Portuguese expedition under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque arrived on the shores of Malacca, taking control of the prosperous Malayan port-city after a swift military campaign. Portugal, a peripheral but then technologically advanced country in southwestern Europe since the latter fifteenth century, had been in the process of establishing solid outposts all along Asia’s litoral in order to participate in the most active and profitable maritime trading routes of the day. As it turned out, the Portuguese presence and influence in the Malayan Peninsula and elsewhere in continental and insular Asia expanded far beyond the sphere of commerce and extended over time well into the twenty-first century.

Five hundred years later, a conference held in Singapore brought together a large group of scholars from widely different national, academic and disciplinary contexts, to analyse and discuss the intricate consequences of Portuguese interactions in Asia over the longue dure. The result of these discussions is a stimulating set of case studies that, as a rule, combine original archival and/or field research with innovative historiographical perspectives. Luso-Asian communities, real and imagined, and Luso-Asian heritage, material and symbolic, are studied with depth and insight. The range of thematic, chronological and geographic areas covered in these proceedings is truly remarkable, showing not only the extraordinary relevance of revisiting Luso-Asian interactions in the longer term, but also the surprising dynamism within an area of studies which seemed on the verge of exhaustion. After all, archives from all over the world, from Rio de Janeiro to London, from Lisbon to Rome, and from Goa to Macao, might still hold some secrets on the subject of Luso-Asian relations, when duly explored by resourceful scholars.”

—Rui M. Loureiro
Centro de Historia de Alem-Mar, Lisbon

“This two-volume set pulls together several interdisciplinary studies historicizing Portuguese ‘legacies’ across Asia over a period of approximately five centuries (ca. 1511-2011). It is especially recommended to readers interested in the broader aspects of the early European presence in Asia, and specifically on questions of politics, colonial administration, commerce, societal interaction, integration, identity, hybridity, religion and language.”

—Associate Professor Peter Borschberg
Department of History, National University of Singapore

Table of Contents

  • Preliminary pages
    • 1. Supplying Simples for the Royal Hospital: An Indo-Portuguese Medicinal Garden in Goa (1520-1830), by Timothy D. Walker 
    • 2. Malacca in the Era of Viceroy Linhares (1629-35), by Anthony Disney
    • 3. From Meliapor to Mylapore, 1662-1749: The Portuguese Presence in Sao Tome between the Qut.b Shahi Conquest and Its Incorporation into British Madras, by Paolo Aranha
    • 4. Eighteenth-Century Diplomatic Relations between Portuguese Macao and Ayutthaya: The 1721 Debt Repayment Embassy from Macao, by Stefan Halikowski Smith
    • 5. Continuities in Bengal’s Contact with the Portuguese and Its Legacy: A Community’s Future Entangled with the Past, by Ujjayan Bhattacharya
    • 6. The Luso-Asians and Other Eurasians: Their Domestic and Diasporic Identities, by John Byrne
    • 7. The Population of the Portuguese Estado da India, 1750-1820: Sources and Demographic Trends, by Paulo Teodoro de Matos
    • 8. Flying with the Papagaio Verde (Green Parrot): An Indo-Portuguese Folkloric Motif in South and Southeast Asia, by K. David Jackson
    • 9. Portuguese Communities in East and Southeast Asia during the Japanese Occupation, by Felicia Yap
    • 10. Indo-Portuguese Literature and the Goa of Its Writers, by Everton V. Machado
    • 11. Binding Ties of Miscegenation and Identity: The Narratives of Henrique Senna Fernandes (Macao) and Rex Shelley (Singapore), by Isabel Maria da Costa Morais
    • 12. Portuguese Past, Still Imperfect: Revisiting Asia in Luso-Diasporic Writing, by Christopher Larkosh
  • Bibliography
  • Index

See Volume 1 here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, Social Science on 2012-02-13 19:27Z by Steven

Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Oxford University Press
July 2012
300 pages
12 halftones, tables, and graphs
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-19-726524-6

Edited by

Francisco Bethencourt, Charles Boxer Professor of History
King’s College London

Adrian Pearce, Lecturer in Brazilian & Spanish American History
King’s College London

  • Comprehensive overview of racism and ethnic relations throughout Portuguese-speaking world
  • Radical updating – last overview was published in 1963
  • Draws out new connections between different parts of this area over time
  • Experiments with new methods, e.g. anthropological history, visual culture

How did racism evolve in different parts of the Portuguese-speaking world? How should the impact on ethnic perceptions of colonial societies based on slavery or the slave trade be evaluated? What was the reality of inter-ethnic mixture in different continents? How has the prejudice of white supremacy been confronted in Brazil and Portugal? And how should we assess the impact of recent trends of emigration and immigration? These are some of the major questions that have structured this book. It both contextualises and challenges the visions of Gilberto Freyre and Charles Boxer, which crystallised from the 1930s to the 1960s, but which still frame the public history of this topic. It studies crucial issues, including recent affirmative action in Brazil or Afro-Brazilian literature, blackness in Brazil compared with Colombia under the dynamics of identity, recent racist trends in Portugal in comparative perspective, the status of native people in colonial Portuguese Africa, discrimination against forced Jewish converts to Christianity and their descendants in different historical contexts, the status of mixed-race people in Brazil and Angola compared over the longue durée, the interference of Europeans in East Timor’s native marriage system, the historical policy of language in Brazil, or visual stereotypes and the proto-ethnographic gaze in early perceptions of East African peoples. The book covers the gamut of inter-ethnic experiences throughout the Portuguese-speaking world, from the sixteenth century to the present day, integrating contributions from history, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, literary, and cultural studies. It offers a radical updating of both empirical data and methodologies, and aims to contribute to current debates on racism and ethnic relations in global perspective.

Table of Contents

  • Francisco Bethencourt: Introduction
  • Part I. Present Issues
    • 1: António Sérgio Guimarães: Colour and Race in Brazil: From Whitening to the Search for Afro-Descent
    • 2: Peter Wade: Brazil and Colombia: Comparative Race Relations in South America
    • 3: Jorge Vala and Cícero Pereira: Racism: An Evolving Virus
    • 4: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro: Mulattos in Brazil and Angola: A Comparative Approach, Seventeenth to Twenty-First Centuries
  • Part II. The Modern Framework
    • 5: João de Pina-Cabral: Charles Boxer and the Race Equivoque
    • 6: Maria Lucia Pallares-Burke: Gilberto Freyre and Brazilian Self-Perception
    • 7: David Brookshaw: Writing from the Margins: Towards an Epistemology of Contemporary African Brazilian Fiction
    • 8: Michel Cahen: Indigenato Before Race? Some Proposals on Portuguese Forced Labour Law in Mozambique and the African Empire (1926-62)
    • 9: Miguel Jerónimo: The ‘Civilisation Guild’: Race and Labour in the Third Portuguese Empire, ca. 1870-1930
  • Part III. The Long View
    • 10: Ricardo Roque: Marriage Traps: Colonial Interactions with Indigenous Marriage Ties in East Timor
    • 11: Herbert Klein: The Free Afro-Brazilians in a Slave Society
    • 12: Andrea Daher: The ‘General Language’ and the Social Status of the Indian in Brazil, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
    • 13: José Pedro Paiva: The New Christian Divide in the Portuguese-Speaking World (Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries)
    • 14: Jean Michel Massing: From Marco Polo to Manuel I of Portugal: The Image of the East African Coast in the Early Sixteenth Century
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Birth of Physical Anthropology in Late Imperial Portugal

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-02-04 03:05Z by Steven

The Birth of Physical Anthropology in Late Imperial Portugal

Current Anthropology
Volume 53, Number S5, April 2012
13 pages

Gonçalo Santos, Senior Research Fellow
Max-Planck-Institut für Ethnologische Forschung

In this article I analyze the emergence of the field of physical anthropology in the metropolitan academic sphere of the Portuguese Empire during the late nineteenth century. I suggest that Portugal’s relatively peripheral position combined with a complex internal conjuncture of political instability and economic impotence gave early Portuguese physical anthropology a less explicitly “colonial” orientation than in other, more central Western European imperial powers. I describe the various national and international exchanges leading to the birth of this naturalist anthropological tradition at the University of Coimbra, drawing particular attention to the foundational role played by the technological assemblage of large osteological collections aimed at the study of the somatic characteristics of the metropolitan “white” population. I situate these technical developments in the context of wider sociocultural and politico-economic processes of both “nation building” and “empire building.” These processes had a strong effect on the kinds of questions asked and the kinds of answers that seemed compelling and acceptable to early physical anthropologists.

This article is about a long-standing tradition of scientific imagination concerned with “the systematic study of human unity-in-diversity” (Stocking 1983:5): the anthropological tradition. I focus on the emergence of a particular field of inquiry within this very broad scholarly tradition, but I analyze this process from the perspective of a peripheral arena of scientific production within the Western European core: the metropolitan academic sphere of the Portuguese Empire during the late nineteenth century. I suggest that this relatively peripheral condition combined with a complex historical conjuncture of internal political and economic crises gave early Portuguese physical anthropology a less explicitly “colonial” orientation than in other, more central Western European imperial powers. This started to change in the 1930s with the rise of a powerful dictatorial regime—Salazar’s Estado Novo—that supported the emergence of a “colonial anthropology” strongly oriented, at least until the 1950s, toward the field of physical anthropology.

The development of the discipline of physical anthropology started in Western Europe at the end of the eighteenth century and spread to other parts of the world during the second half of the nineteenth century. This process of discipline building produced a remarkable degree of international consistency, but it also engendered considerable variations, especially before the second half of the twentieth century (Blanckaert 2009; Dias 2005; Stocking 1988; Zimmerman 2001). As the editors of this supplemental issue of Current Anthropology note, these disciplinary variations remain poorly studied outside core Western European and North American areas, and this article joins recent calls to rethink the history of anthropology more inclusively (Handler 2000; Kuklick 2008) and to focus on diversity in world anthropological production (Cardoso de Oliveira 2000; Krotz 1997; L’Estoile, Neiburg, and Sigaud 2005; Ribeiro and Escobar 2006).

My contribution to this “world anthropologies” agenda is to bring to the surface a little-known Western European perspective on the origins of modern anthropology and the discipline of physical anthropology. In clear contrast to the American anthropological tradition and its four-field approach, the Portuguese anthropological tradition—as I show elsewhere (Santos 2005)—was built on two different but closely intertwined variants of anthropological research. One was more culturalist—focusing on “people,” “language,” and “customs”—and the other was more naturalist—focusing on “race,” “body,” and “fossils.” It was from within this naturalist camp that emerged in the late nineteenth century the first studies of “physical anthropology.” As in the French context (Jamin 1991; see also Blanckaert 1988, 1995, 2009), this early tradition of physical anthropology was so prominent that it was often labeled with the unmodified term “anthropology” (antropologia) and contrasted to its other half, “ethnology” (etnologia)—the ancestor of modern social-cultural anthropology and modern archaeology…

…Before plunging into an analysis of such disciplinary transformations in late nineteenth-century Portugal, I would like to give a brief account of what happened to the entire field of anthropological production from the early twentieth century onward so as to make more explicit the linkages between my “archaeological exploration” and the contemporary anthropological scene.

After a very short-lived First Republic (1910–1926), the dictatorial regime established in 1933 proved very stable and long-lasting but had a very negative effect in the academic sphere. This authoritarian regime repressed freedom of speech, rejected liberal economic reforms, and set out to build a Third Empire in Africa. Anthropologists did not oppose this enterprise and were called on to produce useful “colonial knowledge.” Physical anthropologists—most of whom still espoused a holistic conception of the discipline—played a salient role in this process. By and large, their work offered “scientific” support to the regime’s colonial rhetoric, which emphasized the civilizing mission of the Portuguese imperial expansion and opposed racial miscegenation (Pereira 2005; Santos 2005; Thomaz 2005).

This rhetoric started to change in the post–World War II period, and the major intellectual figure behind the new official ideology was the great Brazilian anthropologist Gilberto Freyre, whose work on the formation of Brazilian society praised the allegedly humanistic nature of the Portuguese colonial endeavor and civilizing engagement with miscegenation (Castelo 1999; Vale de Almeida 2002). This new official rhetoric again constrained the work of anthropologists, but it was more in tune with the liberal antiracialist and cultural relativist anthropology that became internationally dominant in the post–World War II period (Vale de Almeida 2002, 2008). Starting in the 1960s, there emerged increasing epistemological and institutional divides between physical-biological and social-cultural anthropologists, and the latter gained the upper hand in colonial affairs (Pereira 2005)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

“Portuguese” Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-22 18:00Z by Steven

“Portuguese” Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries

Indiana University Press
224 pages
32 b&w photos, 2 maps, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21552-9

Peter Mark, Professor of Art History
Wesleyan University

In this detailed history of domestic architecture in West Africa, Peter Mark shows how building styles are closely associated with social status and ethnic identity. Mark documents the ways in which local architecture was transformed by long-distance trade and complex social and cultural interactions between local Africans, African traders from the interior, and the Portuguese explorers and traders who settled in the Senegambia region. What came to be known as “Portuguese” style symbolized the wealth and power of Luso-Africans, who identified themselves as “Portuguese” so they could be distinguished from their African neighbors. They were traders, spoke Creole, and practiced Christianity. But what did this mean? Drawing from travelers’ accounts, maps, engravings, paintings, and photographs, Mark argues that both the style of “Portuguese” houses and the identity of those who lived in them were extremely fluid. “Portuguese” Style and Luso-African Identity sheds light on the dynamic relationship between identity formation, social change, and material culture in West Africa.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • ONE: The Evolution of “Portuguese” Identity: Luso-Africans on the Upper Guinea Coast from the 16th to the Early 19th-Century
  • TWO: Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Architecture in the Gambia-Geba Region and the Articulation of Luso-African Ethnicity
  • THREE: Reconstructing West African Architectural History: Images of Seventeenth-Century “Portuguese” Style Houses in Brazil
  • FOUR: “The People There Are Beginning to Take on English Manners”: Mixed Manners in Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth-Century Gambia
  • FIVE: Senegambia from the Mid-Eighteenth Century to the Mid-Nineteenth Century
  • SIX: Casamance Architecture from 1850 to the Establishment of Colonial Administration
  • Conclusions and Observations
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , ,

Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century

Posted in Biography, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, Women on 2011-10-16 05:45Z by Steven

Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century

Cambridge University Press
January 2009
348 pages
228 x 152 mm; 0.6kg
Hardback ISBN: 9780521884655

Júnia Ferreira Furtado, Professor of Modern History
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Júnia Ferreira Furtado offers a fascinating study of the world of a freed woman of color in a small Brazilian town where itinerant merchants, former slaves, Portuguese administrators and concubines interact across social and cultural lines. The child of an African slave and a Brazilian military nobleman of Portuguese descent, Chica da Silva won her freedom using social and matrimonial strategies. But her story is not merely the personal history of a woman, or the social history of a colonial Brazilian town. Rather, it provides a historical perspective on the cultural universe she inhabited, and the myths that were created around her in subsequent centuries, as Chica de Silva came to symbolize both an example of racial democracy and the stereotype of licentiousness and sensuality always attributed to the black or mulatta female in the Brazilian popular imagination.

  • Explores issues of slavery, racial distinction, gender, social mobility, and local colonial policy
  • Draws on a wide range of sources, including major archives in Brazil and Portugal, as well as literature on the colonial period in Portuguese and English
  • For scholars in Atlantic history, African diaspora, slavery, gender, and Latin American history

Read the beginning of the introduction here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Interracial Marriage in the Last Portuguese Colonial Empire

Posted in Africa, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-10-16 02:20Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage in the Last Portuguese Colonial Empire

Journal of Portuguese History
Volume 5, Number 1, Summer 2007
23 pages
ISSN: 1645-6432

Maria Eugénia Mata, Associate Professor of Economic History and History of Economics
University of Lisbon

The paper presents both the institutional background and the government philosophy regarding equality and non-prejudice within all of the territories under Portuguese sovereignty in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as tests carried out to discover if the decision to marry and racial homogamy could be considered independent variables, using annual data from statistical yearbooks relating to the colonies.

The conclusions demonstrate the existence of a social prejudice towards inter-racial marriage. The paper supports the belief that social divisions based on ethnicity must be included as part of the explanation for decolonization and independence.

The Government’s philosophy on cohesion during the last Portuguese Empire

In the last phase of the Portuguese empire (1930s-1974/5), the government’s political philosophy in relation to the colonial territories was based on considerable propaganda about the respectful relationship between the Portuguese and other peoples in their colonies. It is the aim of this study to describe the official Portuguese literature on these issues and check its accuracy for interpreting social interaction through marriage in the Portuguese colonial territories of the period.

In political speeches, Portugal was presented as a vast and great nation. Its domains and sovereignty spread over a vast range of territory and were distributed across all the continents of the planet. This was a supreme achievement, according to J. M. da Silva Cunha, one of Salazar’s Secretaries of State, later appointed Overseas Minister: “Providence led Portugal to the mission of bringing all the peoples of Europe and other continents together, taking to them the Christian message, along with European civilization”. Official speeches usually presented Portugal as an honorable nation that had set sail from Portuguese coasts to discover the whole world. This heritage was still present in the Portuguese empire, made up of a mainland territory in Western Europe, four archipelagoes in the Atlantic (the Madeira Islands, Azores, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe), Angola and Mozambique on the African continent, several territories in India, a special pearl close to China, namely Macau, and the territory of East Timor in the Pacific Ocean. So, Portuguese territory was comprised of several provinces, beginning in the northern mainland province of Minho (near Spanish Galicia) and reaching all the way to the antipodes, in Timor.

Also, according to the language of its government, the Portuguese people were a cohesive nation, speaking the same language (Portuguese), sharing the same faith (Christianity), working under the same political rule (the Portuguese administration), and taking pride in the same flag (the Portuguese flag), which was flown in all of the national territory on every continent. There were no ethnic conflicts: “We arrived where we are now, more than five centuries ago, to spread Christianity and to remain”. School children were taught that all Portuguese were equal. Whatever might be their birth, their geographical origin, or the color of their skin, they were all equal. As Cunha (1964) puts it: “So, from the beginning we considered Africans as our equals, in this way eliminating all racial discrimination”.

The Portuguese culture was a single culture, it was said. Even considering that local conditions might be different, the official ideology always stressed that, although they might differ, there were no superior or inferior cultures. Miscegenation was to be the rule, as nineteenth-century literature accused Portugal of a weakness in terms of colonization, which stemmed from miscegenation: “(…) specialist literature of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (…) accused us of a colonizing disability (as was said at the time), because we could not preserve the purity of our race”.

So, the Portuguese nation, according to the government, was a multi-continental, multi-racial unit based on a Portuguese identity of high moral and political standards: “Portugal will continue to remain integral, with her own features of a State and multi-continental Nation, made up of the most varied ethnicities”.8 Even scholars and academics shared a good deal of this vision. According to Boxer (1961), “It is to the credit of Portugal (…) that she made no distinction of race and color and that all her subjects, once they had become Catholics, were eligible for official posts.” Despite abandoning the thesis of  a shared religious faith, a Portuguese professor of economics at the Technical University of Lisbon was to write in an academic work: “We have created throughout five centuries the most extraordinary multi-racial, national community of all times, in which merit comes from the value of the human being and not from the color of the skin. (…) Historically and currently, the Portuguese nation is, as a consequence, a mosaic of multi-continental, multi-racial populations with religious diversity”.

Sometimes a “civilization-bas” argument was added, and contradictions about the “non-superior character” of some cultures appeared: “While the Portuguese policy for human relationships in the overseas territories is impressive because of the vastness of the territories in which it applies, it is even more impressive because of its purpose of transforming aborigines into Portuguese, as Portuguese as anyone born in mainland Portugal, as it is high moral and social standards that lead them to Lusitanity, and to complete integration in the Nation”.

Did such honorable official aims result in a social cohesion that could be expressed in terms of statistical categories or indicators? Did territorial discontinuities encapsulate different societies, with different literacy levels and prejudice? Was this philosophy confirmed in terms of race relationships, inter-racial marriage and miscegenation? Is it possible to find such a Lusitanity expressed in attitudes towards marriage that lie hidden in the data of registered marriages recording different colored skins throughout the empire? It is a fact that Portugal had one of the most far-reaching colonial empires in world history and that the Portuguese had a reputation for particularly integrative and intimate relations with the indigenous groups that were colonized. In order to unify all of the territories under the same legal rules, to endow them with the same status, and to prove that they were considered as a homogeneous territory, each of the colonies was designated a province, an institutional status that was introduced in the constitutional reform of 1951. In this new institutional framework, overseas provinces and mainland provinces were partners in the same empire. However, did this predominant official discourse reflect the truth? Can we believe in this perspective for the Portuguese colonial empire in the period after the Second World War?

The aim of this paper is to test the accuracy of the language used in official political speeches during these decades, by observing how different kinds of local cultural cleavages led to different social experiences of marriage in the various territories. As far as culture, education and ethnicity are concerned, interracial marriage and miscegenation were two important aspects to be observed in Portuguese colonial territories. This paper observes that social and color differences can help to explain how there was a racial prejudice in the Portuguese Empire that must be recognized as yet one more factor helping to explain the success of the colonial wars for independence.

There is a long bibliography on the period, dating from the creation of the Estado Novo to the independence of the territories that were previously under Portuguese sovereignty (1920s-30s to 1974-75). However, most of the contributions are devoted to imperial, political or economic aspects, and even those studies devoted to analyzing the colonial philosophy, social prejudice and social cleavages do not approach the aspects of inter-racial marriage in a quantitative way.15 A recent work (Matos, 2006) is quite exhaustive in dealing with questions of racial representations and color from the 16th century to the 1970s, although it follows an anthropological approach and does not use any consistency checks.

The independence achieved by the different colonies also makes the study of ethnic and social cleavages much more interesting in so many countries, since they have such different features and geographical locations, while nonetheless sharing a common Portuguese colonial past. This paper seeks to shed some light on the study of all of these colonies today…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Rise of a New Consciousness: Early Euro-African Voices of Dissent in Colonial Angola

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive on 2011-10-16 01:57Z by Steven

The Rise of a New Consciousness: Early Euro-African Voices of Dissent in Colonial Angola

Journal of Portuguese History
Volume 5, Number 2, Winter 2007
15 pages
ISSN: 1645-6432

Jacopo Corrado

Events such as the 1820 Liberal Revolution in Portugal and the 1822 declaration of independence in Brazil appeared to the Creole elite based in the coastal centers of Portuguese West Africa as the prelude to a new socio-political order. Moreover, the arrival of hundreds of political refugees and convicts in Angola—from Brazil as well as from Europe—during the decade of 1820-30 helped considerably in spreading revolutionary ideas on that side of the Atlantic Ocean, fueling the hopes and aspirations of a society in which individuals or families were exposed to sudden and at times unpredictable alterations of their social status—often more than once in a lifetime, as the cases of Arsénio Pompílio Pompeude Carpo and Joaquim António de Carvalho e Meneses would seem to confirm.

This paper focuses on these two paradigmatic figures who embodied the discontent that spread among Luanda and Benguela traders and who confronted the authorities as nobody else dared to do in order to defend the interests of a Euro-African elite that, already during the first half of the 19th century, was struggling for more power and was progressively assuming an attitude suggestive of some kind of economic nationalism.

During the first half of the 19th century, Angolan society was characterized by the presence of a semi-urbanized commercial and administrative elite of Portuguese-speaking Creole families – white, black, some of mixed race, some Catholic and others Protestant, some long-established and others cosmopolitan—who were mainly based in the coastal towns of Luanda and Benguela. As well as their wealth, derived from the functions that they performed in the colonial administrative, commercial and customs apparatus, their European-influenced culture and habits clearly distinguished them from the broad population of black African peasants and farm workers. In order to expand its control over the region, Portugal desperately needed the support of this kind of non-colonizing urban elite, which was also used as an assimilating force, or better as a source for the dissemination of a relevant model of social behavior. Thus, great Creole merchants and inland chiefs dealt in captive slaves, bound for export to Brazil: the tribal aristocracy and the Creole bourgeoisie thrived on the profits of overseas trade and used them to live in style, consuming large quantities of imported alcoholic beverages and wearing fashionable European clothes.

The suppression of the slave trade, however, put an end to this situation of mutual advantage and altered forever more the relationship between colonizers and the so-called sons of the country.

In order to understand and contextualize the specificity of the subsequent opposition to the colonial regime put forward by the local Creole elite, it is necessary to retrace the events which unfolded in the Portuguese-speaking world during the 19th century, taking into account different moments of rupture or external influences, together with the most important channels of cultural dissemination of the time. It has to be recognized that the cultural identity of this particular social group strongly relied on metropolitan or Brazilian models in both their forms and contents, but it would be superficial to claim that the cultural imaginary formed in Angola during this period of time totally lacked any original or peculiar features.

On the other hand, how could people’s ways of thinking fail to be influenced by the ideological origins of the revolutions that had been taking place in Europe and America since the late 18th century? Events such as the 1820 Liberal Revolution in Portugal and the 1822 declaration of independence in Brazil appeared as the prelude to a new socio-political order and the arrival of hundreds of political refugees and convicts during the decade of 1820-30, from Brazil as well as from Europe, considerably helped in spreading revolutionary ideas. The political debate was fueled by journals and pamphlets mainly originating in Brazil but, on the other hand, the most conservative aspects of Portuguese liberalism were strongly and officially emphasized in Angola because of the constant fear of a possible social and political uprising.

As a matter of fact, the two personalities to whom this article is dedicated suffered systematic persecution at the hands of the Portuguese authorities and their tormented lives are evidence of the trials awaiting those who decided to assume a critical attitude towards the colonial establishment. On the one hand, we have a former convict born on the periphery of the empire, who had adventurously managed to climb the social ladder and become a serious threat to the establishment. On the other hand, we have the scion of a noble Luanda family who, thanks to the education received in Europe and his long-term experience in diverse fields of colonial administration, breathed life into a revolutionary project that sought to achieve progressive autonomy for his country. Arsénio de Carpo’s life and Carvalho e Meneses’ work perfectly represent both the spirit of the Creole elite and all its contradictions, providing a privileged starting point for better understanding and contextualizing it, focusing our attention on a society in which family, business or social links acquired a special value. In mid-19th century Angola, a good deal or a good position, for instance, often depended on these links, and individuals or families were exposed to sudden, and at times unpredictable, alterations of their social status.This often occurred more than once in a lifetime, as the cases of Arsénio Pompílio Pompeude Carpo and Joaquim António de Carvalho e Meneses would seem to confirm….

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Creole Elite and the Rise of Angolan Proto-Nationalism, 1870–1920

Posted in Africa, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2011-10-15 21:17Z by Steven

The Creole Elite and the Rise of Angolan Proto-Nationalism, 1870–1920

Cambria Press
340 pages
ISBN: 9781604975291

Jacopo Corrado

This book is about Angolan literature and culture. It investigates a segment of Angolan history and literature, with which even Portuguese-speaking readers are generally not familiar. Its main purpose is to define the features and the literary production of the so-called ‘creole elite’, as well as its contribution to the early manifestations of dissatisfaction towards colonial rule patent during a period of renewed Portuguese commitment to its African colonies, but also of unrealised ambitions, economic crisis, and socio-political upheaval in Angola and in Portugal itself.

Nineteenth-century Angolan society was characterised by the presence of a semi-urbanised commercial and administrative elite of Portuguese-speaking creole families––white, black, some of mixed race, some Catholic and others Protestant, some old established and others cosmopolitan––who were based in the main coastal towns.

As well as their wealth, derived from the functions performed in the colonial administrative, commercial and customs apparatus, their European-influenced culture and habits clearly distinguished them from the broad native population of black peasants and farm workers. In order to expand its control over the region, Portugal desperately needed the support of this kind of non-coloniser urban elite, which was also used as an assimilating force, or better as a source of dissemination of a relevant model of social behaviour. Thus, until the 1850s great creole merchants and inland chiefs dealt in captive slaves, bound for export to Brazil via Cape Verde and São Tomé: the tribal aristocracy and the creole bourgeoisie thrived on the profits of overseas trade and lived in style, consuming imported alcoholic beverages and wearing European clothes.

After the abolition, however, their social and economic position was eroded by an influx of petty merchants and bureaucrats from Portugal who wished to grasp the commercial and employment opportunities created by a new and modern colonial order, anxious to keep up with other European colonial powers engaged in the partition of the African continent.

This book thus considers the first intellectuals, the early printed publications in the country, and the pioneers of Angolan literature who felt the need to raise their roots to higher dignity. Thus, they wrote grammar, dictionaries, poetry, fiction, and of course, incendiary articles denouncing exploitation, racism, and the different treatment afforded by the colonial authorities to Portuguese expatriates and natives.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Cherished Myths
    • The greatest and most Portuguese overseas possession
    • Lusotropicalism
  • Chapter 2: The Intellectual Setting
    • The Luso-Atlantic cultural triangle
    • Brazil
    • Portugal
    • The literary and cultural influences
    • Diffusion
    • Association
  • Chapter 3: Luanda
    • The advent of modernity
    • Between journalism and literature
    • The new century: Hope and failure
  • Chapter 4: The ‘Creole’ Elite and Early ‘Nationalism’
    • The term ‘Creole’
    • The term ‘Nationalism’
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , , ,

Is the Discourse of Hybridity a Celebration of Mixing, or a Reformulation of Racial Division? A Multimodal Analysis of the Portuguese Magazine Afro

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-07-01 05:13Z by Steven

Is the Discourse of Hybridity a Celebration of Mixing, or a Reformulation of Racial Division? A Multimodal Analysis of the Portuguese Magazine Afro

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Reasearch
Volume 11, Number 2, Article 24 (May 2010)
29 pages
ISSN: 1438-5627

José Ricardo Carvalheiro, Assistant Professor in the Communication and Arts Department
University of Beira Interior, Portugal

For many years the study of “race” relations was dominated by paradigms—of assimilationism and multiculturalism—which highlighted difference and division (as a problem, or a virtue). In more recent years the idea of racial and cultural mixing—creolization or hybridization—has become an important concept in ethnic and racial studies. The starting point of this article is the observation that the idea of racial and cultural mixture—hybridity or mestiçagem—was a key ideological feature of Portuguese colonialism in its last decades. If hybridity is not therefore a new discourse in Portugal, what is the place for it today and what kind of hybridity is being referred to? What might the Portuguese case tell us about discourses of hybridity more generally? The article explores these questions through a combined visual and linguistic analysis of the lifestyle magazine Afro as a site where contemporary discourses about “race” intertwine.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
3. The “African” Minority in Portugal
4. Afro, a Magazine in the Market
4.1 What does the existence of a lifestyle magazine such as Afro mean?
5. Racial Actors in Visual and Verbal Texts
6. Transnational Representations, “Race” Questions and Hybridity
7. Stories About Mixing: Layers of Discourse
8. Conclusion

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Creolization of the Atlantic World: The Portuguese and the Kongolese

Posted in Africa, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2011-04-15 22:19Z by Steven

Creolization of the Atlantic World: The Portuguese and the Kongolese

Portuguese Studies
Volume 27, Number 1 (2011-03-01)
pages 56-69

Francisco Bethencourt, Professor of History
King’s College, London

In the 1930s, Gilberto Freyre’s praise of mixed-race people in Brazil challenged the idea of white supremacy, contributing to the building of a new Brazilian identity. In the 1950s, Freyre projected the idea of openness and racial mixture onto the Portuguese empire, fuelling Salazar’s colonial propaganda. The idea of Lusotropicalism was contested by Marvin Harris and Charles Boxer, who demonstrated that there were very few mixed-race people in Angola and Mozambique, and exposed the long history of racism in the Portuguese colonies. However, the fashionable notions of hybridism and creolization have been putting Freyre back on the map. The article exposes the limits of Freyre’s approach of inter-ethnic relations, structured around the flexibility (or otherwise) of white colonists. It engages with the much more interesting but problematic approach suggested by Linda Heywood and John Thornton, who shifted to Kongo and African agency the creolization of the Atlantic. It suggests a reassessment of the real Christianization of Kongo and its complex chronology, drawing attention to the royal interests of conversion, the limits of conversion among the population, and the conditions for erosion of Christianity in the long run.

Tags: , , ,