P01 – Colonial periodical press in imperial context: theoretical approaches

22.05.2017, 11.30, Auditorium B, Rectory of Nova University, Campolide

Organization of the Congress

Abstract: The panel is an initiative of the Organization of the Congress under the umbrella of the International Group for Studies of Colonial Periodical Press of the Portuguese Empire, being motivated by an internal debate regarding the understanding of the “colonial periodical press”, in colonial context. A debate inseparable of the necessity to think about the sense of an international group created to the purposed ends. It prevails in the group the idea of the empire being the political reality connected spaces, peoples and individuals in the past, and still does so in the present, through the abundant link between local and global histories, which traces are imprinted in material and immaterial archives, heritage of each people but simultaneously virtually common. We understand that the “colonial world” that it has forged, in a similar process of other colonial empires and in dialog with them, generally was built in the tension between colonialism and anticolonialism, in the different ways these were objectified and theorized. In this case, it isn’t the idea of “colony” but that of “colonial”, indicating realities bond by unequal relations and molded by the existence of such relations, which has fed the transforming debate and action. In coherence we view the imperial metropolis, with its hegemonic position, as an element of the colonial world, modelling it and being modelled by it. It is to be inferred that “colonial” is understood as concept subjected to the temporality of ideas, and that it configures its composite associations. Such is the case of periodical colonial press, which distinguishes itself by the geographic, thematic and agency implications of the concept “colonial” and which, in fact, constitutes a dynamic agent of affirmation, perception and flow of the “colonial world”.

The aim of this panel is to further the debate around such theorizing effort. Amongst other issues that we would like to see discussed, we highlight debating if all press published in the colonies or in imperial metropolis may be considered colonial. Being the press an essential element of the construction of public sphere and of public opinion, we are also particularly interested in interrogating how to approach these concepts in the dynamic crossroads between the local, the intercolonial and the imperial

Keywords: Colonial Periodical Press, Colonial Empire, Colonial, Public Opinion, Public Sphere

Organizing Committee

Colonial periodical press in imperial context

In this paper we will expose persistent concerns and some theoretical conclusions, associated with the process of constitution and programmatic consolidation of the International Group for Studies of Colonial Periodical Press of the Portuguese Empire (IGSCP-PE). When deciding the name and initials of the group, apparently a total communicational disaster, we were alerted to the risk of generating negative reactions to the project as the concepts “colonial” and “empire” could resound as supporting neo “colonialist” and “imperialist” views, and also for being problematic their use regarding some periods and geographies comprehended by the project. If the still short histories of the constitution of the Group and of this Congress allows us to de-dramatize such apprehensions, they do not obviate the need to persist questioning and debating this conceptual frame and that of the different elements of the Group’s name.  Given such conviction, the own idea of “international group” will be discussed, associated to the aim of exploring the possibilities of democratic construction of narratives about common and, yet, diverse political and cultural pasts, being attentive to its “patrimonial” implications and to the way the different standing points that may inform the Group affect the modeling of the conceptual frame in which it is structured.

Keywords: IGSCP-IP, Colonial Periodical Press, Colonial, Empire

2. Francisco Soares – Universidade de Évora, Portugal

The Bulletin of the ANL, in the hinge between local and “black” literature

The constitution of the African National League, soon after the signature of the “Acto Colonial” (1930) that modified the Portuguese Constitution to introduce in it the concept of Colonial Empire and the essential differentiation between Portuguese citizens and the citizens and “indigenous” of the Empire, was the moment of response of the African urban elites to the provocation issued by Salazar’s raising political project. The ANL’S Bulletin mirrored, from the beginning until its end, that initial circumstance. Through it the ANL restructured the literary self-representations of the sons of the land as blacks, culminating a realignment process that had been built during the previous two decades. The Boletim, however discretely, also marked the timid literary shift and thematic realignment from the 19th to the 20th century. The new nationalist generations with their literature of open combat against colonialism and in favor of socialism, not only reacted to colonial press, but also to the tactic positioning and corresponding literature of ANL.

I propose to approach the above issues in this paper. Overall, I aim to contribute to the debate around the “role of press in the formation of local literatures and literary cultures”. The Bulletin of the League and its respective literary production are also privileged fields to reflect about “colonialism and anticolonialism in colonial press”, as it is a non-colonial project strategically inserted in a vaster colonial project. This particular transience of the ANL and its Bulletin also force us to test the concept of “colonial press”, which is other of the explicit goals of the Congress.

Keywords: Literature, Africa, sons of the soil, blacks

3. Rocío Ortuño Casanova – Universiteit Antwerpen, Bélgica

A Methodological Proposal for the Study and Preservation of Colonial Press in 21st Century: Digital Humanities approaches to study the evolution of the image of Spain in the Philippine newspapers between 1880 and 1920

The development of technology related to Digital Humanities in the last decade is allowing researchers on the one hand to have a wider perspective when studying transnational connections, and on the other hand to preserve and upload materials that are in danger to be physically lost or that used to be very difficult to access for a worldwide public. Based on the case of Philippine colonial press, this article will propose examples and possibilities of the study of distance and closeness in the construction of the different others -countries involved directly or indirectly in Philippine-Spanish colonial and post-colonial relations, from the perspective of different newspapers– in periodicals between 1880 and 1920. By using text-mining, sentiment analyisis, the creation of a database to define the cultural and political fields, and topic modelling techniques, we will explore the evolution of attitudes towards old and new colonisers in periodicals in Spanish.

The wider ideas that frame this study are: 1. That the different online repositories of colonial press being created allow new methodologies to answer ambitious questions, 2. That the results of using distant reading may argue some previous assumptions, and 3. That by using this kind of mixed method with quantitative and qualitative analysis, comparisons may be established about the construction of national feeling, and the evolution of it in different old colonial territories.

Keywords: Transnational relations, Philippine periodical press, digital humanities, image construction, national construction, cultural field

(not able to attend for unexpected reasons)

 4. Aquiles Alencar Brayner – British Library, Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil, Brasil

The Afro-Brazilian Collection of BN Digital: creation and dissimination of iconographic collections using images published in 19th century periodicals

The paper will explore the concepts and models developed in the area of Digital Curation, applied to 19th century digitised periodicals. It will focus on the creation, dissemination, access and reuse of content made available at the plataform Hemeroteca Digital, hosted by the Brazilian National Library. The practical example on Digital Curatorship will be exemplified by the creation of the Brazilian National Library “Afro-Brazilian digital iconographic collection” project, following the guidelines for publishing and re-use of images in open platforms such as Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, aiming to disseminate collections and encourage public participation in the description, interaction and re-appropriation of electronic content available at cultural heritage digital repositories, enabling new approaches to these contents by a wider number of researchers and different groups of users. In addition to describing methodologies in Digital Humanities, such as automated extraction and publication of images from digitised periodicals, the paper will also describe the importance of crowdsourcing activities in the creation of new collections, taxonomies and research approaches in digital libraries.


 Aquiles Alencar-Brayner

 Francisco Soares

Rocío Ortuño Casanova holds a PhD awarded in 2010 by the University of Manchester for a thesis on the poetry of the Spanish Generation of 1927. In 2011 her research shifted to the area of Philippine Literature and Comparative Literature. Has lectured in England and Philipines. She is the scientific director of the portal of Philippine literature in Spanish hosted by the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. Currently, she works as doctoral assistant at the University of Antwerp and collaborates with three research groups in Spain: “ALTER: Crisis, otherness and representation” from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona), “Humanismo-Europa” from the University of Alicante, and the international project “EDI-RED: Editores y editoriales iberoamericanos, ss. XIX-XXI” led by CSIC (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas).

%d bloggers like this: