Who fears lusosphere?

Who fears lusosphere? It is undeniable that in Lisbon there is a natural approximation of Portuguese-speaking people, not Portuguese of nationality, even when they do not share the same race and culture. National differences reduce face to the discrimination which all are submitted to. And it makes full sense to think about this reduction as a need for resistance to discrimination, because the metropole turns homogeneous all the ex-colonized, grouping them in the categories of “nigger”, “black”, “immigrant”.

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03.09.2011 | by António Tomás

Riots, royal weddings and recession

Riots, royal weddings and recession The thud of hypocrisy does not end here. Seven months after Cameron criticised Egypt's efforts to block access to the internet, he is now considering increasing British police powers over social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger. Echoing the views of more authoritarian regimes, the prime minister says, 'Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.'


18.08.2011 | by Lara Pawson

Lusosphere, identity and diversity in the network society

Lusosphere, identity and diversity in the network society Lusosphere has been traditionally intended on the basis of progressively reducing dimensions: the geographic one, that unite the eight countries of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (Portuguese: Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP); the political one, that is confined to Portuguese speaking communities spread all over the world; and finally, the historical and cultural one, related to the Portuguese inheritance in different parts of the earth during the maritime expansion and the colonial empire.

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03.08.2011 | by Lurdes Macedo

The Visible And The Invisible. The 14th Festival of Essaouira Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde

The Visible And The Invisible. The 14th Festival of Essaouira Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde For four days last month, tens of thousands of fans from around the world descended on Essaouira, Morocco, for an African musical extravaganza: the annual festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde, now in its 14th edition. The protagonist of this musical feast was as usual Gnawa music: when to Gnawa masters like Mustapha Baqbou, Mohammed Guinea, and Hassan Boussou were not on the main public stages, they were performing lilas (night of healing) that began at midnight at different riads (traditional style Moorish house with a courtyard); and that is where true European aficionados went to trance and to learn the specifics of daqa marrakchiya (the percussive clap associated with the city of Marrakesh).

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22.07.2011 | by Jorge de La Barre

Let’s talk about A House in Luanda

Let’s talk about A House in Luanda Around the competition A House in Luanda: Patio and Pavilion, let’s talk about houses and let’s talk about Luanda. Intending, with all this talk, to add a few considerations to the debate driven by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, in association with the Luanda Triennale, on the role architects could play in the solution to the urban and housing problem of this city with explosive growth, to the increasing socio-territorial inequalities. Let’s talk about houses through an analysis of some of the ideas presented in the competition to which we’ll add others around the problems highlighted on a brief analysis of life in “Luanda’s perimeter”, the place proposed by the competition.


18.07.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

How to Write About Africa

How to Write About Africa In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.


15.07.2011 | by Binyavanga Wainaina

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - III

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - III Although most of the moral economy theorists discussed so far are critics of historical capitalism, few of them are Marxists. Indeed, whether stressing market rationalism or communal norms, they refuse (often explicitly) to discuss peasant society in class terms (see especially Magagna, forthcoming). Marxist analyses of the peasantry, along with "peasant studies" in general may indeed be out of fashion (Roseberry 1989); nonetheless it is Marxists who continue to search for the cultural components of Third World responses to capitalism-- including witchcraft beliefs. The results may be problematic, but they nonetheless point to paths of inquiry not opened by the individualist and functionalist approaches of other moral economy theories.

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11.07.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen


Communities Communities are above any kind of suspicion; they are incorruptible and have an unfailing vision for the future of humanity. At least that is how some missionaries for the new religion called ‘development’ think. The trope of civil associations serves to illustrate this sanctified sanctifying concept. This pure thing does not exist. Thankfully. What there are human things, with the faults and virtues of all human things.


04.07.2011 | by Mia Couto

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - II

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history  - II The central trope of the various efforts to define moral economy has been an opposition between, on the one hand, the maximizing individual and ever-expanding market of classical political economy, and on the other a community governed by norms of collective survival and believing in a zero-sum universe: i.e. a world where all profit is gained at someone else's loss. The communal/zero-sum side of this equation is broadly consistent with African beliefs identifying capitalism and witchcraft as the dangerous appropriation of limited reproductive resources by selfish individuals.

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21.06.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen

African Modernity from Johannesburg: William Kentridge's Other Faces

African Modernity from Johannesburg: William Kentridge's Other Faces If any African artist working today can be described as internationally acclaimed, instantly recognizable, with a style marked by a unique personality, it is the South African William Kentridge. A ubiquitous presence in art festivals and exhibitions and in the permanent collections of the great museums, a recipient of numerous prizes, encomia, and honorary doctorates, Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955, when popular uprisings and increasingly harsh repression drew clear lines between partisans and opponents of the racist authoritarian regime.

I'll visit

21.06.2011 | by Beatriz Leal Riesco

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - I

The moral economy of witchcraft: an essay in comparative history - I Witchcraft, as used here, is also an abstraction, but one intended to represent directly the terms used by African and other societies to describe their own beliefs and practices. The introductory section of the essay will attempt to identify an African witchcraft idiom which gives broader meaning to texts such as the Beninois oral account of slave-cowry transactions. The concluding section will examine the early-modern European "witch craze" in order to consider how the elaboration of common elements in European and African culture both reflects and mediates differing trajectories into the modern world

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19.06.2011 | by Ralph A. Austen

"Terceira Metade": Conjugating (Subverting?) the Glocal from Benin: Hazoumé, Zinkpé, Quenum

"Terceira Metade":  Conjugating (Subverting?) the Glocal from Benin:  Hazoumé, Zinkpé, Quenum Extrapolating their critique to the demands placed upon Africa by the art market and the culture industry, these artists - Romuald Hazoumé, Dominique Zinkpé e Gérard Quenum - show themselves immune to, if not ignorant of, the self-absorption prevalent in contemporary art. They do not cease to question the processes according to which of African artists in general, and of those from Benin in specific, at once infiltrate and are assimilated by the systems of art and culture.

I'll visit

09.06.2011 | by Roberto Conduru

Urban Africa – thoughts on African cities

Urban Africa – thoughts on African cities These new views of urbanity in Africa force us to re-equate new paradigms, new urbanism models, as Adjaye proposes, and new forms of intervention in urban areas that take into account the multiplicity and complexity of what occurs in each city and that can only be found and managed locally. This applies both to what occurs in the old city centers – some of their “hearts” still beat – as to their replicas that were born afterwards.


07.06.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

A Mirror Labyrinth

A Mirror Labyrinth With the same boldness, but in very different conditions, a growing number of non-African youngsters adventure themselves in 21st century Africa. Refusing holiday packages where tourists are locked inside sterilized resorts, foreigners stroll around on their own improvised exploits, prepared with information of the networks and pocket guides. Rucksack on the back, they travel through countries that allow some daring. This way of travelling promotes meeting real people, and not only the crystalline waters or the exotic animals.

I'll visit

04.06.2011 | by Nuno Milagre

"Terceira Metade": in the shadow of silence

"Terceira Metade": in the shadow of silence What to do with his secret? He was the first to wake up in the Village, and the only one who would know that the fire was dead. Was the circle broken? Would he be haunted by the spirits of the elders for his negligence of loving nature? And had there been such negligence?


01.06.2011 | by Ondja ki

Urban Africa: Pan-African View

Urban Africa: Pan-African View David Adjaye, one of the leading architects from his generation, living between London and New York, returned to Lisbon. 'Urban Africa - A Photographic Journey' was the reason why. This exhibition, recently launched at the Black Pavilion of Lisbon City Hall Museum, is a photographic tour but also a retrospective of memories from an architect who never left Africa. 
Born in 1966, in Tanzania, from a family of diplomats, he was soon forced to understand the inevitability of travelling, the need to readapt and redefine oneself. Nevertheless, the nomad lifestyle didn’t break his strong relation with the African continent. His work confirms his deep relationship with its landscapes and its places. In Urban Africa (and also in this conversation) David shares his panoramic view of this vast territory and his – spoken – will to live there again.

Face to face

01.06.2011 | by Rita Palma

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli Thoughts around the interview and conference CIUDAD SUR presented by Pablo Brugnoli, last June 26th on “Próximo Futuro”, Gulbenkian Programme for Contemporary Culture. According to Pablo Brugnoli, CIUDAD SUR reviews ideas, practices and projects by collectives of architects and artists, whose recent works reinterpret cities from the southern cone of America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay). The link between them is their focus on the value of communitarian reconstruction, regarding both the procedures and the socio-cultural dynamics.


23.05.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond This paper explores Lisbon’s contemporary music scenes within the perspective of music and cultural circulation. It discusses the various ways in which music and cities interact, in a context of increased inter-connectedness between the local and the global. It suggests that music creation and performance (and more broadly, cultural innovation), cannot be reduced to neither grassroots nor institutional initiatives. On the premises of the existence of a so-called “global culture”, cities tend to reinvent themselves by promoting various (and eventually competing) self-definitions. In the case of Lisbon, this tendency is accompanied by a seemingly increased desire to connect (or re-connect) with the Lusophone world, eventually informing Lisbon’s self-images as an inclusive and multicultural city. In this process, new forms of ethnicity may gain visibility in the marketing of Luso-World music (or World music as practiced in the Portuguese-speaking countries). At the horizon of imagined cities as “transcultural megacities”, music tends to gain agency in the promotion of senses of place and belonging in, and to the city.


18.05.2011 | by Jorge de La Barre

Mere Impressions: South African Prints from the Permanent Collection, MOMA NY

Mere Impressions: South African Prints from the Permanent Collection, MOMA NY The notion of art as a vehicle for criticism and resistance was taken up in a programmatic manner by the South African group Resistance Art at the end of the nineteen-seventies to the end of confronting institutionalized racism in the then-totalitarian nation. A direct result of the 1976 Soweto uprising and the 1977 murder of the Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, it represented a “galvanized anti-apartheid activism” in the artistic and cultural spheres. The idea of “culture as a weapon of political struggle,” affirmed by a multiethnic convocation of artists in Botswana in 1982, appears to be the overarching theme of the MOMA’s curators in the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, with an eye, perhaps, to those presently fomenting global crises and the sensibilities they must produce in an audience once again attuned to injustice and inequality (Image 1).

I'll visit

17.05.2011 | by Beatriz Leal Riesco

QUEEN NJINGA’S MILONGAS The ‘dialogue’ between Portuguese and Africans in the Congo and the Angola wars (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries)

QUEEN NJINGA’S MILONGAS  The ‘dialogue’ between Portuguese and Africans in the Congo and the Angola wars (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) When the Africans discovered that the mato inspired such horror in the Portuguese, they made it their habitual refuge, patiently negotiating from there with the intruders. Queen Njinga, in Angola, played this game to perfection, thus provoking the increasing anger of the Portuguese. Referring to the subterfuges the Portuguese governor opposed to the liberation of her sister, prisoner in Luanda, she wrote on 13 December 1655: “For these and other betrayals I took shelter in the matos, far from my territories” (Cadornega 1972, II: 501). By withdrawing to the forest, the queen was not only obeying a military imperative, but also putting pressure on the Portuguese.

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17.05.2011 | by Martín Lienhard