The title of this issue—The Open Veins of the Postcolonial: Afrodescendants and Racisms—makes obvious reference to Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America, published more than 40 years ago. Although this paraphrase may seem inappropriate, given the fact that the author has “disavowed” the book, the same cannot be said of the veins of the postcolonial, whose colonial heritages have prolonged and reproduced themselves over the course of decades since the fall of the most recent colonial empires.
Indeed, the bearers of the colonial heritage who reside today in former colonial metropoles—those who were colonized as well as their descendants, whom we will call Afrodescendants—live with open veins, a state that is shared by the former colonizers as well as their descendants. However, in the Americas and particularly (though not exclusively) in Europe, the Afrodescendant part of this group is beleaguered by a series of obstacles, both endogenous ones (even when driven by exogenous factors) and those imposed by a society whose vision of the identity of the “imagined community” insists on reproducing essentialist models that fail to incentivize a pluralist vision. This is true in terms of identity and of the human landscape of a country whose population in the twenty-first century is composed of individuals with various belongings, a reality that includes countries of immigration as well as former colonial powers. And this non-recognition of the Other as the Same, diverse but not different, causes such perplexity that, in the case of Portugal, the place from which we speak (though it is not productive to speak only from the site of the former metropole but also from the destinations of enslaved peoples), the former colonial power boasts of its Atlantic heritage. This lack of consciousness of a postcolonial reality in the former metropole (and not just in the former empire) naturalizes the invisibility of the non-white in the institutions of civil society, in political parties, and in other types of institutions. And this invisibility is reinforced, because it is silenced as a problem, when African or Afrodescendant artists, who succeed in breaking the barriers of silence and conquer space in society, omit from their discourse the question of racism or of representation, for they are more concerned with seeking the “recognition” of those who have always discriminated against them (Frantz Fanon) than with seeking emancipation and the affirmation of an individual or collective identity. In this manner, the question of the representation of the Afrodescendant part of the population in instances of the “imagined community” intersects with that of racism as an ideology of delegitimization, which aims for the exclusion of this segment of the population and limits it to the problem of (im)migration.
This issue of Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies (PLCS) aims for the emergence of epistemological categories and thematic analyses of racial and ethnic differences as well as those arising from sociability, representations, and sociopolitical and cultural dynamics. The issue aims, as well, to unmask the naturalizing discourse of the ideology of subalternity and institutionalized discrimination through various “beliefs” and tacit practices; to discuss and understand how to articulate the place of belonging with ethno-racial identity in the twenty-first century, while also trying to stimulate debate over some categorizations and apparently established concepts; and to contribute to the broad discussion proposed by the United Nations when it declared the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024 (Resolution 68/237), which attempts to bring attention to the precariousness of these populations in various spaces around the world in terms of “recognition, justice and development.” This issue, finally, aims to locate strategies of both discourse and action that will make it possible for these open veins to be “sutured” so as not to bleed into chronic invisibility. In this context, we encourage authors to submit full-length academic articles (5,500-8,500 words) addressing the following themes:
- Racism as a colonial heritage
- Racisms and racialisms
- Afrodescendant as a colonial category
- Afrodescendancy as a place of enunciation
- Processes of collective affirmation: activisms and social and political actions
- Activisms and significant social and political actions for participation in society
- Social participation of Afrodescendants in twenty-first-century societies
- Mechanisms of social exclusion and identity of Afrodescendants
- Afrodescendants: lifestyles, sociability, cultural production and urban practice
- Diasporic identities: between colonial heritage and emancipation of identity
- Although articles on these themes are particularly encouraged, we welcome a variety of topics and approaches from a range of disciplines.
The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2019. We encourage authors to submit articles in English or Portuguese. Submissions must conform to the journal’s guidelines, which are available here: https://ojs.lib.umassd.edu/index.php/plcs/about/submissions.
Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies is a peer-reviewed journal published by Tagus Press in the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: https://ojs.lib.umassd.edu/index.php/plcs/index.