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Postcolonial Nation and Narrative III: Literature & Cinema

Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Hilary Owen, Ellen Sapega and Carmen Tindó Secco

This volume investigates literary and cinematographic narratives from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe, analysing the different ways in which social and cultural experience is represented in postcolonial contexts. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume Narrating the Postcolonial Nation: Mapping Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Capeverdian, Guinean and Saotomean literary and cinematographic culture. Acknowledging that the idea of the postcolonial nation intersects with other social, political, cultural and historical categories, this book scrutinizes written and visual representations of the nation from a wide range of inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives, including literary and film studies, gender studies, sociology, and post-colonial and cultural studies. It makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

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Intertwining Histories: Documentary Narratives on São Tomé and Cape Verde (Jessica Falconi)


Jessica Falconi

Intertwining Histories: Documentary Narratives on São Tomé and Cape Verde

History is hysterical: it is constituted only if we consider it, only if we look at it – and in order to look at it, we must be excluded from it.

— Roland Barthes1

To these people S. Thomé offers a most desirable market for labour, and some hundreds of men and women go every year under a two years’ contract […].

They are self-willed and of an uncertain temper, and some planters do not care to employ them, but there is always a market for their labour, and the arrangement appears to work to the mutual advantage of both Cape Verde and S. Thomé.

— William A. Cadbury2


Os últimos contratados by Leão Lopes (2010), Contract by Guenny Pires (2010) and São Tomé. Minha terra, minha mãe & minha madrasta by Júlio Silvão Tavares (2012) are three documentary films about the former Cape Verdean migrant workers in colonial cocoa and café plantations – roças – in the islands of São Tomé e Príncipe. This essay analyses the different approaches film makers adopt in order to represent memory and the colonial past, as well as the present era and the independent nation-state. At the same time, the essay examines the relationship the film makers establish with the subjects of film and the audience, in order to reflect on...

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