Colonial Mimesis in Lusophone Asia and Africa

Principal Investigator: Ricardo Roque
Team: Ricardo Roque, Cristiana Bastos, Tiago Saraiva, Ângela Barreto Xavier, José Miguel Ferreira (2012-2013), Carmo Daun e Lorena (2011).
Consultores: CA Bayly (Cambridge) e Ann L. Stoler (New School, NY)
Fuding: FCT, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Referência PTDC/CS-ANT/101064/2008)

This project looked at the role played by processes of imitation and mimesis in colonial situations from a reverse perspective, that is: as a process and as a practice of the colonizers themselves that could bear productively on colonial relations of power. The study is set in the context of Portuguese colonialism in Africa and Asia, in the nineteenth and twentieth century. By focusing on a variety of ways of ‘becoming Other’ and ‘going native’, the project investigated the incorporation of indigenous ideas, technologies, materials, symbols or customs by colonial agents, and the consequences it entails for colonial interchanges, forms of knowledge, power relations, and modes of identity. In addition, it was our purpose to reassess the concepts of mimesis and imitation in history, anthropology and postcolonial studies, in order to explore their potential beyond the conventional themes of ‘resistance’, ‘opposition’ and its indigenous performances.

IMAGE: Cover of “La Diffeza di la Razza”, II, 19, 20 March 1939 – XVII, “Antirazzisti de tutto il mondo, unitevi!”