My current research investigates the materiality of the colonial experience as manifested in Portugal and Mozambique (Southern Africa). Although drawing on a broader period, it focuses particularly on the Portuguese colonial period (19th and 20th centuries, with special emphasis on the Estado Novo, 1926-1974) and Mozambican post-colonial period, with references to pre-colonial times. I am interested in analyzing the colonial ideology that embraced the metropole and its colonies; the construction of post-independence Mozambican social memory; and local counter-memories based on remembrances and landscapes with symbolic meaning. This project draws on ethnographic, archaeological and archival research, using different types of material culture (e.g., archaeological sites, monuments, ceremonies, colonial exhibitions, landscapes, street names, school textbooks) to illustrate the materialization of social memories and how artifacts work to generate social knowledge.
The study considers the media and the geography through which the Portuguese colonial state normalized and justified its imperial enterprise. One of my main interests is the analysis of material culture that reproduces the colonial ideology for future generations. For example, I examine how elementary school textbooks and maps were tools of empire, and since 2006, I have conducted research on the materialization of the Portuguese concept of empire at a children’s park (Portugal dos Pequenitos) to understand how the knowledge of the past was manipulated and spatialized.
My goal with this research is to contribute to define colonial interactions in the context of memory and landscape analysis, to conceptualize Portuguese colonialism and its post-colonial consequences, as well as to the discussion on the reification of collective memory and its conceptualization as a process.
As my teaching and research are informed by a broad Africana perspective (that is, a more international perspective that includes past and present African experiences in and outside Africa), I recently embarked on a collaborative project with Michelle Slaughter (a CRM specialist) to initiate the archaeological research of “The Dry,” an early 20th century African American homesteading community located south of Manzanola. While the white settlement of Colorado is well-documented and well-known, particularly since the discovery of gold and implementation of heavy metal mining in the 19th century, little is known about the coeval black settlements. “The Dry” was almost completely abandoned by the mid-20th century, and today its history lives primarily in the minds of descendents of the community. Our goal is to contribute to local history, to bring new data to the Black history of Colorado, and to provide DU students with field work experience, including in the area of Cultural Resource Management. We also envision the development of public outreach projects with local communities and cultural institutions
This portfolio last updated: Oct 27, 2012 2:40:22 PM