Intersections of Empire, Post-Empire, and Diaspora: De-Imperializing Lusophone Studies

  • Cristiana Bastos Universidade de Lisboa
Keywords: Portugal, plantations, labor, migrations, heritage


The present article opens with a generic plea for the de-imperialization of Lusophone studies. A de-imperial turn should allow researchers to explore more thoroughly the experiences of diaspora and exile that an empire-centered history and its spin-offs have obfuscated; it should also help to de-essentialize depictions of Portuguese heritage and culture shaped by these narratives. Such a turn promises to address the multiple identifications, internal diversities, and racialized inequalities produced by the making and unmaking of empire. My contribution consists of a few ethnographic-historic case studies collected at the intersections of empire, post-empire, and diaspora. These include nineteenthcentury diasporic movements that brought Portuguese subjects to competing empires; past and present celebrations of heritage in diasporic contexts; culture wars around representations; and current directions in post-imperial celebrations and reparations.