P16 – Liberty and censorship in the colonial empire: the case of the periodical press

24.05.2017, 00.90-10.20, Amphitheater II, FLUL

Benjamin Abdala – Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: The panel views the discussion of situations of censorship around events with political connotations, as well as inclinations for self-censorship in face of the repression machinery under the Salazar dictatorship. In face of the more general contestation of this system, political actions also happened at the Portuguese metropolis, which gestures had supranational correlations with what happened in the whole Colonial Empire. On the other hand, the influxes of new hegemonies – which formalized in the Unites Nations Charter, after the Second World War, the principle of self-determination of peoples – have turned problematic the survival of the old colonial empires, in their traditional formulas.

There should be analysed, as central goal of the panel, the levels of openness and closure in colonial periodicals and their correlations with those of the metropolis. Questions regarding the critical reception and publicity, in this press, of books (literary or not), will be approached, particularly those that were censored and those that conveyed the ideology of the State. It will be problematized the possible interlocutions or contrasts of such press (colonies and metropoles) with what occurred in other colonial empires, in particular the British Empire.

Keywords: Censorship, Self-censorship, Press and “Salazarismo”, Literature and politics

1. Edvaldo A.Bergamo – Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brazil

Jorge Amado and the ‘Salazarism’: literature, press and censorship

The Brazilian social romance of 1930 had an uncommon impact in the neorealist circles of Portugal and in the nationalist circles of the Lusophone African colonies, namely in some press of left/socialist tendency of that period, that opposed to a politic regime of fascist and colonialist profile. They were convergent intellectual circles that recognized correlations in the framing of the dilemmas they faced. The work of Jorge Amado, specifically, was object of aesthetic and ideological analysis in the period of resistance in the Portuguese metropolis, as well as in the press of nationalist extraction of the African colonies, vehicles in which the persecution moved by the Salazarist censorship may be testified at different scales. Our aim in this paper is to present a study about the critical evaluation of the literary production of the novelist from Bahia in the Portuguese neorealist press, as well as in the nationalist periodical press of some Lusophone African colonies, vulnerable to the sieve of dictatorial admonition for notably distinct motives. As such, exegetic texts and/or artistic compositions offer a receptive reading of the figuration of the imaginary of Jorge Amado identifiable in works that expose the impacts of economic underdevelopment, of incomplete modernization and of the heated social conflicts, contradictory aspects of the historical and cultural formation of Brazil, which main incongruences regarding class and race are faces of the same problem: the exacerbated oppression of the rural and the urban worker stimulated by a system of super exploration characterized as monopolist capitalism of colonial rancidity.

Keywords: Jorge Amado, Salazarism, dictatorship, censorship, press, colonialism

2. Benjamin Abdala Junior – Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil

Liberty and censorship in the periodicals of colonial times, departing from O Signo da Ira (Orlando da Costa) and Luuanda (José Luandino Vieira)

This intervention turns to the discussion of censorship in the Salazarist dictatorship, taking into account mainly two events, which motivations occurred departing from the Portuguese colonial empire: the publication of the O Signo da Ira and other texts of Orlando da Costa; the collection of short stories Luuanda, of José Luandino Vieira, the award of a prize and the closure of the Sociedade dos Escritores Portugueses (Society of the Portuguese Writers). In this sense, it will be analysed periodicals of Angola and Goa, as well as from the colonial metropolis, in order to characterize the underlying mechanisms of censorship and self-censorship. In the horizon, an attempt to correlate with what was happening in the colonial empire. Still in line with the field of research of this panel, it will be approached questions related to the critical reception and diffusion, in this press, of books (literary or not), in particular those that were subjected to censorship and those that conveyed the ideology of the State.

Keywords: colonial press, metropolitan press, censorship, self-censorship, O signo da ira, Luuanda, critical reception

3. Filipa Sousa Lopes – FLUP-IHC, Portugal

‘To transmit to the heart of the sons of Portugal the anxieties and aspirations that pump the heart of the sons of India’

I propose to analyse through the pages of the newspaper Bharat the role of colonial periodical press in the elections for the National Assembly of 1945. With the surrender of Germany no one admitted that Salazar could resist to the fall of the Nazi-fascism. The population believed in the dawn of a new era: that of Liberty. Feeling the winds of change, of democracy, blowing in Europe, the regime adapted itself. The Electoral Law was changed after the approval of a constitutional amendment and, in October 7, Salazar announced the schedule of elections ‘as free as in the free England’. Taking advantage of the period they thought to be of a possible change in the State of India, apart from the list of the National Union, there were four lists of the opposition to dispute the 1945 elections for the National Assembly. In the ambience of a public opinion controlled and manipulated, through censorship and propaganda, the Bharat sought to inform to enlighten the Goans how, in the context of their time and of the political changes in India, they could work to build the political debate about the future of the Portuguese State of India.

Keywords: Colony, opposition, press, liberty


 Benjamin Abdala Júnior is CNPq Researcher and Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of S. Paulo. He has worked with the main Brazilian scientific agencies  (CNPq, Capes). At the University of S. Paulo, he coordinated programs, and departments, as well as book series. He published 47 books (monographies, and collections of essays, and anthologies), such as A escrita neorrealista; Literatura, história e política; and Literatura comparada e reflexões comunitárias, hoje.

Edvaldo A. Bergamo was post-doctoral researcher funded by CAPES at University of Lisbon (FLUL/CeSA) (2014-2015). He holds a graduation, a master degree and a PhD in Literary Studies from the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). He is professor at the University of Brasília (UnB). He co-edited Angola e as angolanas: memória, sociedade e cultura (2016), and África contemporânea em cena: perspectivas interdisciplinares (2015). His research interests include: authoritarianism, colonialism and postcolonialism in fiction.

Filipa Sousa Lopes teaches History at primary and secondary school. She holds a master degree in History of Institutions, and Modern and Contemporary Culture from the University of Minho, Portugal, with the thesis “A Oposição à Ditadura no concelho de Vila Nova de Famalicão”. She is a PhD candidate in History at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, with the project As vozes da oposição ao Estado Novo e a questão de Goa (1950-1961). Her research interests include: the portuguese dictatorship; decolonization; liberation struggles.

Sofia da Palma Rodrigues is a PHD student in the Post-Colonialism and Global Citizenship program at the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra and has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Communication Sciences at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She is a freelancer reporter and, in the last ten years, has published in different media outlets, mainly on topics related with Human Rights and Colonialism in Africa.

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