It is with great sadness that we received the news of the untimely death of our dear colleague and long-time partner and friend of the UMass Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture/Tagus Press and the Department of Portuguese, Professor Fernando Arenas (University of Michigan).Over the past two decades, we were fortunate to welcome Professor Arenas to our campus several times. As an external reviewer, he took part in the evaluation of our proposed MA program in Portuguese Studies in 2003 and in the review of the Department of Portuguese in 2016. In 2007, he was an invited speaker, with a lecture “On the Global and the Postcolonial: The Multiple Locations and Directions of Lusophone Africa,” a report on his research in progress for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and which resulted in the publication of his widely read book, Lusophone Africa: Beyond Independence (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). In 2012, he gave a talk on “Africans and Afro-Descendants in Portugal: Continuity and Ruptures from Late Medieval to Postcolonial Times,” a subject that occupied him in recent years as he worked on his new book, tentatively entitled The Rise of Afro-Portugal: From African Migration to European Citizenship.
Since 2016, Professor Arenas served as an active member of the editorial board of the Center’s journal Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies (PLCS). He recently published the important article, “The Filmography of Guinea-Bissau’s Sana Na N’Hada: From the Return of Amílcar Cabral to the Threat of Global Drug Trafficking" in Transnational Africas: Visual, Material and Sonic Cultures of Lusophone Africa (PLCS 30/31), and had previously published “The Renaissance of Angolan Cinema" in Remembering Angola (PLCS 15/16). Professor Arenas gave generously to the journal and other publications, reviewing submissions, providing editorial suggestions, and responding to countless queries with calm wisdom and infectious enthusiasm.
On behalf of the entire UMass Dartmouth community of Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to Fernando’s family and friends. His wisdom and generosity will be deeply missed.