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Voices, Languages, Discourses

Interpreting the Present and the Memory of Nation in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe

by Ana Mafalda Leite (Volume editor) Jessica Falconi (Volume editor) Kamila Krakowska (Volume editor) Sheila Kahn (Volume editor) Carmen Secco (Volume editor)
Edited Collection VIII, 400 Pages

Summary

This volume brings together a selection of interviews with writers and filmmakers from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe in order to examine representations and images of national identity in the postcolonial narratives of these countries. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume of interviews Speaking the Postcolonial Nation: Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique (2014).
Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Cape Verdean, Guinean and São Tomean literary and cinematographic culture. By assembling different generations of writers and filmmakers, with a wide variety of perspectives on the historical, social and cultural changes that have taken place in their countries, this book makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

Table Of Contents


Ana Mafalda Leite, Jessica Falconi,
Kamila Krakowska, Sheila Khan and
Carmen Tindó Secco (eds)

Voices, Languages,
Discourses

Interpreting the Present and
the Memory of Nation in
Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau
and São Tomé and Príncipe

About the editors

ANA MAFALDA LEITE is Associate Professor at the University of Lisbon. Her areas of research include Mozambican literature, African cultures and literatures in the Portuguese language, oral literature and postcolonial studies. Her publications include Oralidades & Escritas Pós-Coloniais (2012).

JESSICA FALCONI is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study of Africa, Asia and Latin America at the University of Lisbon. Her publications include Utopia e conflittualità. Ilha de Moçambique nella poesia mozambicana contemporanea (2008).

KAMILA KRAKOWSKA is Assistant Professor at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, where she teaches International and African Studies. Her PhD thesis on travel in the novels of Mário de Andrade and Mia Couto was awarded the prestigious Fernão Mendes Pinto prize.

SHEILA KHAN is a researcher at the Center for Communication and Society Studies (CECS) at the University of Minho. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the project funded by the European Research Council, EXCHANGE. Her publications includes (with Nazir Can and Helena Machado, eds), Racism and Racial Surveillance: Modernity Matters (2020).

CARMEN TINDÓ SECCO is Professor of African Literatures in the Portuguese Language at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Her publications include A magia das letras africanas (2003), Brasil/África: como se o mar fosse mentira (2003) and África & Brasil – letras em laços (2010).

About the book

This volume brings together a selection of interviews with writers and filmmakers from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe in order to examine representations and images of national identity in the postcolonial narratives of these countries. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume of interviews Speaking the Postcolonial Nation: Interviews with Writers from Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Cape Verdean, Guinean and São Tomean literary and cinematographic culture. By assembling different generations of writers and filmmakers, with a wide variety of perspectives on the historical, social and cultural changes that have taken place in their countries, this book makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Ana Mafalda Leite

Editor’s Note

The interviews that have been compiled in this volume allow the reader to get closer to the texts and films produced in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe, they provide a platform for the recounting of personal lives as well as the collective experiences of artists, and they contain many diverse reflections on national and transnational identity in those countries.

This book is the result of a project financed by FCT (NEVIS – PTDC/CPC-ELT/4939/2012),1 which is entitled “Written and Visual Narratives of the Post-colonial Nation”, and was carried out by the researchers who co-edited this book: Carmen Tindó Secco, professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ); Jessica Falconi, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Studies on Africa, Asia and Latin America at the University of Lisbon (CESA); Kamila Krakowska, assistant professor at the Centre for the Arts in Society of Leiden University; Sheila Khan, sociologist and researcher at the Centre for Studies in Communication and Society at the University of Minho (CECS); and Ana Mafalda Leite, professor at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Lisbon (FLUL), and researcher at CESA.

The painstaking task of conducting and transcribing the interviews followed meetings between the researchers and the film directors and writers in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Lisbon. They were assisted in this undertaking by two other members of CESA, Marta Banasiak (funded through the project) and Giulia Spinuzza, to whom we are very grateful for their invaluable contribution. The editing of the←vii | viii→ interviews was carried out by the five core researchers and was a difficult process involving many revisions and the input of many people.

Finally – and the last shall be first – we are especially grateful to the authors and film makers for their openness and willingness to share their valuable testimony, articulated in a polyphony of voices that coincide or differ in their personal narratives and journeys.

The present volume of interviews will complete, or add to, a scientific investigation that started with Angola and Mozambique (Ana Mafalda Leite, Sheila Khan, Jessica Falconi and Kamila Krakowska (2012), Nação e Narrativa Pós-Colonial II – Angola e Moçambique – Entrevistas [Nation and Narratives of the Post-colonial II – Angola and Mozambique – Interviews]. Lisboa, Editora Colibri), focusing on the three other African countries that speak Portuguese, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and looking at the nation and post-colonial narratives. This present volume extends the scope of research to film makers, allowing for a more complex understanding of concepts such as “narrative” and “nation”, and also showing the many cross-overs between different types of artistic production, especially narration through written text and visual expressions.

Without doubt, the tremendous variety of testimonies that are collected and published here will prove essential to future research in studies that look at memorizing in the area of African Studies, offering the reader, professional or otherwise, different perspectives on the nations about which each of the artists is talking.←viii | 1→


1 Research Project, entitled “Narrativas Escritas e Visuais da Nação Pós-Colonial” [Written and Visual Narratives of the Post-Colonial Nation], funded by FCT (Fundação de Ciência e Tecnologia de Portugal [Portuguese Academy for Science and Technology]).

Jessica Falconi, Sheila Khan and Kamila Krakowska

Introduction Voices, Languages, Discourses: Interpreting the Present and the Memory of Nation in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe

The co-operation between various disciplines, approaches and theories can be beneficial, but it can also present a challenge, when what you encounter is the result of an approximation between various subjectivities, be that literary or poetical, visual or in written form. Art, in all its expressions, is liberation, a coming together, but, above all, the expression of a civic conscience, in a historic sense, an assertion of a partaking in a political, social, cultural and economic universe into which it is fitted.

The purpose of art is to assume an active voice, in all its nuances and different manifestations: reclaiming, recovering and making sense of a collective memory that is national, patriotic and individual. Without art, without this grounding that can open up such different directions, human beings are inevitably running three great risks: forgetting, obliteration and historic chaos.

In African societies, which are now independent, post-colonial and global spaces, the past has not been locked away in the attic; it has not been buried in a hole, from where it would never again emerge. The past is a common link in the everyday lives of those who inhabit places that were formerly colonized, and who experienced those times and passed on their testimony, as both a driving force for political autonomy and a present-day authority helping in the rewriting of History, and the memory of their nation. In Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Guinea-Bissau, artistic creativity opens doors in this way, in the authority of the narrative voice and in the brilliant intellectualism of their different post-colonial narratives.←1 | 2→

The NEVIS project presents and contextualizes the aesthetical and ethical practices of creative artists from these three nations – writers, poets, painters and film makers, of both fiction films and documentaries. Above all, we zoom in on the narratives that emerge in the multilingual and multiethnic contexts of the Lusophone African countries and try to contribute to an opening of new narrative spaces where a variety of voices, perspectives and experiences can be expressed and heard. In this dialogue, we are forced to leave behind our own well-trodden paths of thinking, our prejudices and preconceptions of the world. We have already taken this approach in a volume that looked at Angola and Mozambique (Leite et al., 2012, 2014), where we were looking at the various strands of thinking about the nation encapsulated in the many narratives of experiences that are written into the space and the synchronic and diachronic time of historical memory.

Biographical notes

Ana Mafalda Leite (Volume editor) Jessica Falconi (Volume editor) Kamila Krakowska (Volume editor) Sheila Kahn (Volume editor) Carmen Secco (Volume editor)

Ana Mafalda Leite is Associate Professor at the University of Lisbon. Her areas of research include Mozambican literature, African cultures and literatures in the Portuguese language, oral literature and postcolonial studies. Her publications include Oralidades & Escritas Pós-Coloniais (2012). Jessica Falconi is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study of Africa, Asia and Latin America at the University of Lisbon. Her publications include Utopia e conflittualità. Ilha de Moçambique nella poesia mozambicana contemporanea (2008). Kamila Krakowska is Assistant Professor at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, where she teaches International and African Studies. Her PhD thesis on travel in the novels of Mário de Andrade and Mia Couto was awarded the prestigious Fernão Mendes Pinto prize. Sheila Khan is a researcher at the Center for Communication and Society Studies (CECS) at the University of Minho. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the project funded by the European Research Council, EXCHANGE. Her publications includes (with Nazir Can and Helena Machado, eds), Racism and Racial Surveillance: Modernity Matters (2020). Carmen Tindó Secco is Professor of African Literatures in the Portuguese Language at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Her publications include A magia das letras africanas (2003), Brasil/África: como se o mar fosse mentira (2003) and África & Brasil – letras em laços (2010).

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Title: Voices, Languages, Discourses