Rochelle Pinto

Tone and temper – newsprint as a universal genre

24.05.2017, 17.30, Amphitheater III, FLUL

This presentation attempts to analyze the tenor of newsprint when it emerged in Portuguese colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Newsprint seemed to symbolize and enable the spread of liberal ideas as a corollary of the movement towards constitutionalism. However, this image drew more from a universal conception of what newspapers should do, than mirror the actual relations that newsprint spawned with the state, and the public. As we read the personalized abuse, innuendo, and anonymous letters which appeared frequently in the papers, it prompts us to produce explanations of newsprint as a genre and as a political form that draws on its diverse modes of self-representation. A parallel set of rebukes within newspapers urged citizens to maintain the decorum befitting public debate and not to abuse the freedoms granted them. With heads of state and prominent officials among the anonymous letter writers and pamphleteers of this time, what does the notion of public order and debate denote, and for it to be repeatedly invoked, where did it exist prior to the momentous arrival of newsprint in the Lusophone realm? 

Rochelle Pinto. Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. PhD. Dept. of Languages and Cultures of South Asia, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In 2007 she published the influential book Between Empires: print and politics in Goa (Oxford University Press). Her interests and publications include: studies about the politics of print and writing in the construction of Indian modernity; studies about the ‘colonial novel’; economy and caste in the context of Portuguese colonialism; race relations between Goa and East Africa. Her non-academic publications include reports and research projects on the nature of archives in India. Rochelle Pinto has taught at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society in Bangalore and at the University of New Delhi. In Portugal, she was Visiting Lecturer of the Instituto de Investigação Interdisciplinar, University of Coimbra. She was recently visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. She is currently a member of the international project ‘Thinking Goa: a peculiar library of Portuguese language’ (University of S. Paulo, Brazil) and of the International Group for Studies of the Colonial Periodical Press of the Portuguese Empire.

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