"518 Years of Colonial Ghosts"
Alexandra Lucas Coelho, Portuguese Journalist & Novelist
February 7, 2018 (Wednesday), at 5:00 pm
Liberal Arts Building, Room 397D
This lecture will be in English. Light refreshments will be served. Please use parking lot 1.
Alexandra Lucas Coelho's most recent novel, Deus-Dará (Left to God), which crosses five centuries of history between Portugal and Brazil. In this 568-page narrative, set in contemporary Rio de Janeiro, the author unburies some ghosts of the colonial history that connects Portugal and Brazil, including the killing of at least one million Amerindians and what was by far the longest and largest experience of slave traffic between Europe, Africa, and America. She will speak to why and how she came to write this book; why and how Portugal became the biggest slave-trading power in the Atlantic Ocean; why and how this is connected to the present and the future; the resistance to this debate in Portugal in 2018; the novel as a transgender text: structure, language and resources; the novel as a terreiro (the grounds of the Afro-Brazilian religions where ancestors, spirits and divinities are embodied); the narrator as a xama (the person who connects with ancestors, spirits and divinities among the Brazilian Amerindians).
About Alexandra Lucas Coelho
Alexandra worked as a reporter, covering conflict zones from the USSR to the Middle East and Central Asia, for more than twenty years. She lived in Jerusalem and Rio de Janeiro as a correspondent for Portugal's Público newspaper. With her first novel, E a Noire Roda (And the Night Spins, 2012), a failed love story set in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Alexandra Lucas Coelho received the Portuguese Association of Writers' prestigious literary prize. Her second novel, 0 Meu Amante de Domingo (My Sunday Lover, 2014), a short satire, was translated into French by Editions du Seuil. In 2016 she published her third novel, Deus-Dará (Left to God), set in contemporary Rio de Janeiro and chronicling 500 years of colonial history. She has also published five non-fiction books: Oriente Póoximo (Near East, 2007), Caderno Afegão (Afghan Notebook, 2009), Viva Mexico (2010), Tahrir (2011), and Vai, Brasil (Go, Brazil, 2013).
Sponsored by the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture / Tagus Press in collaboration with The PhD Program in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory, The Department of Portuguese, The Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, and the Consulate of Portugal in New Bedford.