P03 – The role of the periodical press in colonial/postcolonial transitions

22.05.2017, 16.00-17.20, Auditorium 2, Tower B, FCSH-UNL

Joana Passos – CEHUM, Universidade do Minho, Portugal

Pamila Gupta – WiSER University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Abstract: The submitted panel aims at discussing the ways periodical press followed, and even influenced, the process of colonial/ postcolonial transitions in several former colonies, during the 20th century.  On the one hand we aim at comparing affinities among the press of several territories colonized by Portugal. On the other hand, we find important to go across the borders of former imperial maps, relating different processes of liberation in neighbouring territories. The third line of inquiry in our study follows divergence among editorial perspectives which proposed conflicting models of colonialism or liberation. The study of these dissonances exposes the priorities for diverse spheres of power established at the time, while explaining either contemporary historical scars or, on the contrary, current political alliances.

Keywords: colonial press, self-assertive national press, liberation struggles, international dialogues

1. Pamila Gupta – WiSER University of the Witwatersrand, África do Sul

‘What about Goa?’ the role of the press and the politics of independence, 1947-1961

Resumo: ‘What about Goa?’(Souza, 1957) was a question that prompted a wide range of outbursts in many different parts of the world in the period between India’s independence from Britain in 1947 and Goa’s integration into the Indian nation-state in 1961. In the following paper, I interrogate the role of the press in producing and circulating multiple discourses on this topic. Arguing that the press serves as one modern technique of the ‘art of government’ (Foucault 1991) that operates at the juncture of state and society, I hope to explore the ways in which two nation-states (Portugal and India) utilized the press for certain political ends, that is in order to express their views at the same time that they used this space to create public opinion for these same views. With the ‘Goa Problem’ at the center of my analysis, I contrast Portugal’s use of the world press to explicitly promote its own position of (desired) continued sovereignty over Goa with India’s reliance on its own press to promote an interest in ‘liberating’ Goa from Portuguese colonial oppression. My analysis will reveal not only that this contentious arena was tied to future implications for nationalism and decolonization the world over, but that it is also very much the product of local concerns; namely, the debate over Goa’s future as part of India or Portugal. My analysis of the press also shows the ways in which post-coloniality can be shaped by multiple colonialisms and nationalisms.

Keywords: Goa, India, colonial, world press

2. Joana Passos – Universidade do Minho, Portugal

A Double Frame of Mind in Colonial Goa: Between Revival and Appropriation

I will compare two Goan periodicals, namely, Revista da India, 1913-1914, and Luz do Oriente, 1907-1920. The contrasting views expressed by these two Goan publications will enable this research to map different investments in a public voice, reaching for international ramifications either with the West or with the rest of the Indian subcontinent, a local tension that reflected the diplomatic complexity in the process of Goan decolonization.

Keywords: Colonial press; self-assertion; cultural exchange

3. Sushila Sawant Mendes – Government College of Arts,Science & Commerce, Quepem, Goa (Affiliated to Goa University), Goa, Índia

Assolna, Velim, Cuncolim Tri-Conglomerate: Rebellious voices in ‘Gomantak’ and ‘Goan Tribune’

Assolna, Velim, Cuncolim are villages in South Goa dominated by the Kshatriya (warrior caste), catholic community. The 1583 rebellion (in which 5 Jesuits and 5 locals were massacred) converted their identity into a tri-conglomerate of a militant culture. The Portuguese denied them government job, confiscated their community lands and ostracized them by discouraging marriages to “criminals”. Today almost every second house has a history of men employed on the ship or emigrants and marriages were held within the three villages. This land of freedom fighters, produced professionals who used the printed media to express their dissent. This paper aims to study the role of two newspapers, ‘Gomantak’ (a weekly:1939-49,edited for a period by my father, Adv. Louis Mendes) and the ‘Goan Tribune’ (a forthnightly:1956-61,edited amongst others by Lambert Mascarenhas) as foras, which provided a platform for these rebellious voices.

Keywords: Goa, self-assertive nationalist press, Liberation struggle

4. Omar Ribeiro Thomaz – Unicamp, Moçambique

Archive, colonial agent and revolutionary subject: the press in Lourenço Marques between 1974 and 1975

Between April 1974 and the political independence of Mozambique, in Jun 1975, press organs in Lourenço Marques and in Beira not only had an extraordinary and rapid transformation but were the protagonists of a process of change not always evident. In the days that followed the 25th of April in Portugal, the pages of the newspaper Notícias de Lourenço Marques, of the Diário de Moçambique from Beira or the magazine Tempo it became evident the action of the new political groups that, like the “Democrats of Mozambique”, assumed the role not only of informing the Mozambicans of the course of events, but also of preparing them for the reality of a new country that should be effectively African. The news that arrived from the metropolis increasingly competed with pages about Zambia or about Tanzania and personalities until then unknown or frightening to the urban populations gain increasing space, such as Samora Machel, Marcelino dos Santos, Joaquim Chissano and other fighters. The FRELIMO is reshaped from a terrorist organization to a Liberation Movement and quickly prepares itself to the period of transition that follow the violent months of September and October 1974. In this essay we will address Mozambican press between 1974 and 1975 in two perspectives. On one hand, it constitutes a precious source for the social scientist and the historian, who should situate it in the middle of other accessible sources like a true archive and, as such, search an approach to that process of deep transformation in which the world of the cities until then colonial literally turned upside-down; on the other side, we aim to construct the referred press titles as agents of a process by which Mozambique found its way out of a colonial regime of white minority into a Popular Republic of a single party. At last, we pretend to discuss the association between press and revolution in the specific context of Mozambique between 1974 and 1975.


Joana Passos is a researcher at CEHUM – Centre for Humanistic Studies of the University of Minho. She specialized in feminist and post-colonial studies at Utrecht Univesity, The Netherlands (Phd 2003). She has published over thirty articles on literatures in Portuguese and English languages. She developed her post-doctoral research at the University of Minho, compiling a history of Goan literature in Portuguese from a post-colonial perspective (2012). She co-organized two thematic dossiers from DIACRITICA (Indian Ocean Narratives, 2013; the 50 year anniversary of Luuanda, 2014). She also co-edited two anthologies of academic articles on Postcolonial debates in Portuguese (Contemporary Aficas – 2010; Journeys, Postcolonial Trajectories and Representations – 2012). She is a team member of project NILUS (University of Lisbon), as well as project “Pensando Goa” (University of S. Paulo). She co-edited “Pŕemios Literários” (On Literary Prizes, 2016), one of the outcomes of project “Prémios Literários – O Poder das Narrativas, As narrativas do Poder” sponsored by Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian.

Omar Ribeiro Thomaz is Professor of the Postgraduate Program in Social Anthropology, and of the Graduate Program in History (Social History of Africa) and of the Doctorate in Social Sciences, at the Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences of the State University of Campinas. He completed his doctorate at the University of São Paulo and held postdoctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology with the support of the Humboldt Foundation. He has held research internships and teaching periods at institutions such as the Eduardo Mondlane University Center for African Studies, the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, the Free University of Berlin, the National University San Martin, the Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the Center de Recherche et Development (Port-au-Prince). In the last two decades, his main research area has been anthropology of conflicts, particularly in Mozambique and Haiti.

Pamila Gupta is Associate Professor at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. She has published in Critical Arts, African Studies, Ecologie & Politique, Island Studies Journal, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Ler História, and Public Culture. She is the co-editor of Eyes Across the Water: Navigating the Indian Ocean with Isabel Hofmeyr and Michael Pearson (UNISA, 2010). Her monograph entitled The Relic State: St. Francis Xavier and the Politics of Ritual in Portuguese India was published by Manchester University Press in 2014. She is currently working on a new book manuscript entitled Ethnographies of Lusophone Decolonization in India and Southern Africa.

Sushila Sawant Mendes has a doctorate in history from the Goa University.For the past 27 years she has been the head of the Department of History at the Government College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Quepem in Goa (Accredited with an ‘A’ Grade). Her book which has grown out of her doctoral thesis is titled,’ Luis de Menezes Braganza:Nationalism,Secularism and Free-thought in Portuguese Goa’.She presents papers regularly to state and natonal seminars,many of whom have found a place in books on the history of Goa.At present she is working on her second book on “Assolna,Velim and Cuncolim: A Historical Tri-Conglomerate of Goan Culture”.Ms.Sawant Mendes was a student activist and is now a trustee of the Manovikas Public Charitable Trust,which runs a reputed educational institution in Goa.She is also a trustee of Silver Star Appeal (India),a foundation devoted to awareness of diabetics.

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