30167 - Portuguese and Brazilian Literature 2 (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

A very good knowledge of Portuguese is essential, since the lessons will be taught in this language. Furthermore, the student has deep knowledge about the history of Portuguese and Brazilian literatures and cultures, with a particular attention paid to the relation between literary texts and the historical, artistic and linguistic contexts. He knows, and is able to use, practical and effective methods for the analysis and interpretation of literary texts and other cultural objects.

Course contents

The course, entitled "Heranças do fim do império: Portugal e as memórias de África", is completely taught in Portuguese, approaches the crucial topic of the contemporary memories of the last Europaean colonialism in Africa. Not only it intercepts the debate on post-April 25 decolonizations, but also analytically investigates the large archive of African experiences and images, very much alive and strongly influenced in the contemporary Portuguese culture. The reconstruction tackles the memories of the "retorno", the optical deformations of the "colonial nostalgia", in particular the intergenerational transfer of memories between the experiential generation and the so-called (with a concept under discussion) generation of post-memory, that is, the generation that, through family ties, "lived alongside" the generation of witnesses. In fact, it is this generation that occupies the literary, artistic, and cultural scene with their works, outlining an often critical revision of the colonial imagination. The current "Afropolitan" artistic production scene characterized by an extraordinary vitality offers innovative ideas to reflect on the contemporary edge of the heritage of the colonial history of Portugal in Africa (and its still precarious archive), of Africa as a problematizing contemporary presence in Portugal and more generally in Europe, despite all the attempts to remove, conceal, euphemize, re-idealize the colonial past.


Essential references 

Antunes, Maria José Lobo (2015). Regressos quase perfeitos. Memórias da guerra em Angola. Lisboa: Tinta-da-China.

Lourenço, Eduardo (1999). Portugal como destino seguido de Mitologia da saudade. Lisboa: Gradiva.

Lourenço, Eduardo (2014). Do colonialismo como nosso impensado. Lisboa: Gradiva.

Medeiros, Paulo de (2016). “Post-imperial Nostalgia and Miguel Gomes’ Tabu”. Interventionsn. 2, 18, pp. 203–216.

Peralta, Elsa org.(2017). Retornar -Traços da memória. Lisboa: Edições 70.

Ribeiro, António Pinto, (2021). Novo Mundo. Arte Contemporânea no tempo da pós-memória. Porto: Afrontamento.

Ribeiro, Margarida Calafate. (2020), “Viagens na Minha Terra de «outros» ocidentais”, in Heranças pós-coloniais nas literaturas de língua portuguesa, Ribeiro, Margarida Calafate; Rothwell, Phillip (orgs.); Porto: Edições Afrontamento, pp. 291-307.

Vecchi, Roberto (2016). “Os fins do tempo do fim: descolonização, negação, pertença”. in Altre Modernità, n. 16, pp.43-51.

Vecchi, Roberto (2021). "A nostalgia colonial no País da saudade: fantasmagoria e pós-memória”, in Confluenze,vol XII, n.2 (2020), pp.169-181.

Teaching methods

The method proposed in the course is mixed: it provides, in addition to the traditional lessons, thanks to the platform Virtuale, collective workshop for the discussion of common texts, the construction of specific thematic routes to each individual student, the planning shared by all the class of a work project (Wiki), a final presentation of each personal work with the participation of all the class. In this way, the preparation is assessed during the course (through the constractivist modality provided by Virtuale- not in a final test.

Assessment methods

The exam aims to assess the achievement of the main learning objectives of the course, namely: forming a deep critical knowledge about the history and theory of Portuguese, Brazilian and African Portuguese-speaking literatures and cultures, with particular attention to the relation between literary texts and the historical, cultural and aesthetic contexts; strengthening a wide knowledge and use of critical methodologies and practices for the analysis and interpretation of literary texts and the historical and cultural contexts. The exam will be articulated on different tests that contribute to determine the final evaluation and disseminated during the course. In fact, it is articulated in different modes: organization of joint seminars where an active participation in the discussion is a favorable element for the assessment of the skills in order to achieve progressively and integrally the course objectives; preparation of a final work with a deep analysis of a topic among those approached during the course and its following discussion in the occasion of a final oral test on the main topics of the course. The student will be put in the condition, either through the lessons and an appropriate path of readings, to achieve the objectives of the course. The evaluation will be proportionate to the performance of the student in the different moments of the course. In this sense, it will be considereted satisfactory an informed knowledge of the main topics addressed, intersected with critical methodologies used during the development of the course. If this essential level is not achieved, the student will be put anyway in the condition, through an integrative program of individual readings, to reach an acceptable level of comptences. The articulation of the knowledges on a more varied and lucidly composed textual, contextual and critical framework, dialoguing not only with the premises but also with the most crucial topics of the course, in particular those of conceptual order, will add value to the overall evaluation of the student. Finally, in this context, the integration of a critical and orginal contribution, capable to open new and alternative perspectives of analysis and interpretation of the mains issues of the course, is evaluated as an excellent result of the student's performance.

Teaching tools

For its conceptual nature the course defines a strict dialogue between literatures, arts and cultures. For this reason, beside literary texts, to which a specific workshop (reading and commenting) will be dedicated, other multemedia and internet contents -provided thriugh Virtuale platform- will be introduced, in order to build an organic and clear framework of the topic. Different materials and texts used during the lessons are made available to students through the collaborative platform set up specifically for the class.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Roberto Vecchi