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Level 5

5AAH1023 Cultures of Kingship and Empire: Power and Pushback in Portuguese-speaking Africa, 1400-1960

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Katharina Oke
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment (2018/19): 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each)
Assessment (2019/20): 1 x 1,500 word formative essay, 1 x 3,000 word essay (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Portuguese is not essential

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years

This module offers students the chance to engage with perhaps the most important enduring engagement of Portugal with the wider world, the Portuguese empire in Africa. Portuguese imperial expansion in Africa began in 1444 and ended with formal decolonization in 1974, which was far and away the longest imperial engagement of any European power over the longue durée. But what did this mean for Portugal, and what did it mean for Africa? What characterizes Lusophone Africa, and how is it different to other areas of Africa? What do the Lusophone-influenced areas of Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique have in common, and how far can a common experience of Portuguese colonialism influence both past and present? What was the legacy of African-Portuguese interactions for contemporary identities?

The course assumes no prior knowledge and covers all of Lusophone Africa. The first 4 sessions look at the idea of Lusophone Africa and the three core regions in deep historical context. The course then moves into looking at the keystones of Portuguese imperialism in the 20th century, looking at wars of pacification, the race system of assimilados and civilisados, and pathways of resistance through literature, song and revolution. By the end of the course students will have a central understanding of both the history of Lusophone Africa and of how the cultures of Lusophone Africa engaged with historical forces and resisted them through indigenous cultural representations.

Provisional teaching pattern

  1. What is Lusophone Africa?
  2. Power and Brokerage (1) "A Guiné du Cabo Verde"
  3. Power and brokerage (2): Mozambique and Portugal's relations with African empires
  4. Power and brokerage (3): Angola and the slave trade
  5. "Pacification" and the Scramble for Africa
  6. Economic cannibalism: Labour and Economy in the Portuguese Empire
  7. Colonialism and Dictatorship: The Estado Novo and the Colonies
  8. Race and Identity: Settlers, Assimilados and Indigenas
  9. Resistance beyond lusophony: Song, Flight, Borders, Literature
  10. On the Eve of the Anticolonial War: Lusophone Africa in 1960

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

Birmingham, D.  Portugal and Africa (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999)

Boxer, C.  Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963)

Chabal, P.  Africa Works (Oxford: James Currey, 1999)

Ferreira, R. Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Forrest, J. B.  Guinea-Bissau: power, conflict & renewal in a west African nation (London: Westview, 1992)

Heywood, L.  Contested Power in Angola: 1840s to the present (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2000)

Jeronimo, M. Bandeira The ‘Civilising’ Mission of Portuguese Colonialism, 1870-1930 (Cambridge, CUP, 2015)

Marques, P.  The Sounds of Silence: Nineteenth-Century Portugal and the Abolition of the Slave Trade (Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2005)

Newitt, M.  Portugal in Africa (London: Hurst, l981) 

Newitt, M.  A History of Mozambique (London: Hurst, 1995)

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