Cultures of the Lusophone Black Atlantic
The project "Cultures of the Lusophone Black Atlantic" is an investigation of the cultural expressions of, and responses to,
the history of the black diaspora within the Lusophone Atlantic triangle; that is, the transnational movements of people and
traditions, the dialogues and exchanges that have occurred between the societies of Portugal, Africa and Brazil from the beginning
of the slave trade until the present day. Our research will focus on case studies of literature, language, music, dance, festivals,
religion, cultural and political movements and ideas which exemplify the multi-directional relations connecting the three
corners of the Lusophone Atlantic.
Aims and objectives
The project has two principal aims: to redraw the disciplinary map within Lusophone cultural studies by establishing the Lusophone
Black Atlantic as a new frame of analysis, and to lay substantial foundations, in the form of exemplary published research,
for further scholarship of this kind in the broader field of Lusophone cultural studies.
The first of the specific objectives will be to draw together an international body of researchers around a core team already
working individually on separate topics related to this theme at the Centre for the Study of Brazilian Culture and Society,
King's College London. The project will build upon and concentrate these existing research activities, which have been concerned
primarily with local or regional aspects of the Lusophone black experience, and take them in a conceptually new, and systematically
focused, direction. That is, the perspective will be shifted away from the history of the black experience within individual,
national frontiers, towards the multi-directional framework of the Lusophone Black Atlantic, as a field of movements, dialogues
and exchanges connecting Portugal, Africa and Brazil across time and space, which has given rise to a historically distinctive
diaspora with unique social, cultural and political identities. The first objective is therefore to organize the collaborative
research infrastructure and orientation that will be essential to unite an international body of scholars (whose Transatlantic
composition is intended to mirror that of the object of study) around this single intellectual enterprise and perspective.
Secondly, the project will generate and organise a concentrated body of research work for publication, bringing together the
results of the applicants' individual research with that of the international team, and addressing three major thematic areas
deemed to constitute the conceptual framework of the Lusophone Black Atlantic — Movements and migrations, Cultural and artistic
practices, and Cultural Politics. This body of publications will stand as the permanent, substantive statement of the position
of Lusophone Black Atlantic Studies within the discipline. However, the project will also present the results of the research
in progress to the academic community, not only through local and international symposia and conferences, but also through
a web-based communication system for posting texts and news and supporting on-line discussions.
The project will aim to apply to the field of Lusophone cultural studies the suggestion, made by Paul Gilroy (1993) in relation
to Britain, the US and the Caribbean, that "cultural historians could take the Atlantic as one single, complex unit of analysis
in their discussions of the modern world and use it to produce an explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective".
The Lusophone Black Atlantic triangle will be examined both in terms of its distinctiveness as a dynamic field of cultural
exchanges, and in its affinities with other transatlantic complexes connecting the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe.
This focus on how two- or three-way cultural flows and dialogues have transformed ethnicities and cultures, not only in the
Brazilian "New" World but also in the "Old" Worlds of Africa and Europe, will demand and produce new theoretical and analytical
models more appropriate to their subject than concepts such as creolisation and syncretism, which are much cited but of limited