Code . CEECIND/00377/2022
Start . 2024
Duration . 72 meses
Principal Investigator . Noemi Alfieri (CHAM)
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
CHAM — Centro de Humanidades
COORDENATOR INSTITUTIONFaculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa
This project dwells on intellectual displacement, on the mobility of objects and ideas through the transnational networks established within Africa and Europe by negritudinists, Pan-African or anti-colonial writers and intellectuals from the 1950s to the 1970s. Furthermore, it intends to counteract the underrepresentation of women’s agency in the historical narrations produced about, and in, those cultural environments.
Focusing on outlining connections, circulations, and translations of printed material - namely literary works - through space in those decades, conditionings to the movement and reception of printed matters and the ideas they vehiculated, such as the institutional censorship or political persecution and incarceration, will be also considered. The study of the connections between publications such as Mensagem (Lisbon), Cultura II (Luanda) and the environment of the reviews Présence Africaine (Paris and Dakar) and Black Orpheus (Ibadan) has the intention of reflecting on the racial exclusions and inequalities intensified by the capitalist oppression and its colonial foundation (GILROY, 1993; MBEMBE, 2013), with particular attention to the socio-political context. The cultural and literary production of that period will be understood as a tool of communication, mobility, and transposition from the individual to the collective, in the search of mutual, collaborative, and common paths.
Those newspapers and journals produced “histories” (narrations in a wider sense) that weren’t passively subjugated to western authority: they counteracted its cultural hegemony, claiming its right to build new narrations. In this sense, they contributed both to the task of provincializing Europe (CHAKRABARTY, 2000) and in taking Africa to the core of the discussion through to the spread of a Pan-African consciousness.
Influential anti-colonial personalities and members of CEI (House of Students of the Empire, editing Mensagem), such as Amílcar Cabral, Alda Espírito Santo, Deolinda Rodrigues, Marcelino dos Santos, Mário Pinto de Andrade, Viriato da Cruz, Noémia de Sousa, circulated inside and outside the colonial spaces, building cultural, symbolic, and concrete bridges and networks for social equality and cultural dignity. While the manifesto of the MAC – Movimento Anti-colonial was written in Dos Santo’s room in Paris, one year after the realization of the Premier Congrès des écrivains et artistes noirs (1956), publications such as the collective «Les étudiants noirs parlent» (Présence Africaine, 1953) and of the Caderno de Poesia Negra de Expressão Portuguesa edited by Tenreiro and Pinto De Andrade (1953), led to harsh debates and contributed to the internationalization of the anti-colonial movements. Founded in 1947 by Alioune Diop, the review Présence Africaine was printed in Paris and Dakar, willing to question the imperialists ambitions of western culture (MUDIMBE, 1992). Black Orpheus, founded in Ibadan by Ulli Beier (1957), was inspired by 1956’s Congress and Sartre’s preface to Nouvelle poésie nègre et malagache, edited by Senghor (BENSON, 1986). The connections between Lisbon, Paris and other cities such as Accra, Algiers (headquarter of the Centro de Estudos Africanos since 1964), Dar-Es-Salaam, Florianópolis, Ibadan, Lisbon, London, Luanda, Rome were strengthened through the participation of African writers and intellectuals of CEI and Présence in anti-colonial conferences.
By endorsing a decolonial approach, cities are conceived as intellectual hubs, as destinations of exile that contributed to the conceptual dislocation and reconfiguration of the idea of “centre”. Conditionings to the movement and reception of printed matters and the ideas they vehiculated, such as the institutional censorship or political persecution and incarceration, will be also considered, as well as the cultural influence African intellectuals had on European political and intellectual cultures. The cultural and literary production of that period is, therefore, understood as a tool of communication, mobility, and transposition from the individual to the collective, in search of mutual, collaborative, and common paths.
Noemi Alfieri . Coordenator