A history of the commemoration of the “Portuguese Discoveries” (closed)

From the late twentieth to the early twenty-first century, Portugal was the setting of several initiatives commemorating historical events related to the country’s expansion overseas, namely the fifth centenary of Vasco da Gama’s maritime journey to India, in 1498, and of Pedro Álvares Cabral’s arrival in Brazil, in 1500. This commemorative cycle was mainly patronized by the Portuguese state, which appointed a National Commission for the Commemoration of the Portuguese Discoveries (1986-2002) and organized large-scale international events, most notably the Expo’98. Along with the official commemorations of the “Portuguese discoveries”, there was a boom of scholarly developments and debates, with an emphasis on the discipline of History, as well as artistic works in fields such as music and cinema that engaged with this subject.

Twenty years after Expo’98, Práticas da História: Journal on Theory, Historiography and Uses ofthe Past calls for contributions for an analysis and critical reflection on this commemorative cycle. A seminar will be held in Lisbon, on 18-19 June 2018, with an opening lecture by the historian António Hespanha. The seminar will focus not only on the Portuguese context, but also on the ways in which these commemorations were interpreted in other national contexts, especially Brazil, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Goa, Macau, and East Timor. Suggested topics include:

– Institutional public or privately-organized commemorative programs;
– Political and activist discourses;
– Journalistic discourses and media representations;
– Editorial initiatives in or outside academia;
– Cultural and artistic productions (including cinema, music, plastic and performative arts);
– Historiography about the Portuguese expansion overseas and works from other social sciences and humanities;
– Historiographical and memorialist debates;
– Architectural and urbanistic interventions and heritagization of spaces;
– Teaching and children’s and young adult literature.

Proposals should be sent to praticasdahistoria@gmail.com until 15 April 2018, in one of the following languages: Portuguese, English, French or Spanish. Abstracts should contain approximately 500 words and include a brief biographical note (40 to 60 words). By 24 April, authors will be informed if their proposal was accepted. If the decision is positive, authors will be invited to send a written version of the paper until 1 June 2018, containing 6,000 to 10,000 words and following the journal’s submission guidelines (Submissões | Práticas da História. Journal on Theory, Historiography and Uses of the Past (rcaap.pt)).
After the paper is presented and discussed at the seminar, authors should deliver a revised version until 10 July 2018, which will undergo blind peer-review.