Portuguese castles aboard II: Heritage, tourism and Portuguese cultural cooperation in African contexts

Principal researcher: Maria Cardeira da Silva

Research group: Circulation and Place-Making


Tourism | Patrimonialisation | Cultural policy and cooperation

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)


Fundação da Universidade de Lisboa (FUL/UL); UAlg - Escola Superior de Gestão Hotelaria e Turismo (ESGHT/UAlg); NOVA FCSH



Start date


End date





Following an earlier project financed by FCT that only included some Arab and Islamic countries (Portuguese castles abroad: heritage and cultural cooperation between Portugal and Arab-Islamic countries, see http://gigaroz.hartserver.com/pytw4/) this project aims to extend to other African countries na analysis of some of the practices of cultural cooperation, patrimonialisation and the associated impact of tourism. In this second phase, the objective is to return to some of the previous studies undertaken on the rehabilitation and patrimonialisation of Portuguese fortresses and other buildings - Arzila, Azzamor, AlJadida in Morocco, Uadane and the National Park of Arguim in Mauritania - and include other locations, which for reasons provided in prior examinations and because of recent developments in tourism and practices of monumentalisation, are considered worthy of concomitant and, in some cases, comparative analysis. These are: the Bijagos Archipelago Biosphere Reserve (Bolama being a World Heritage candidate) in the Republic of Guinea Bissau; the Goré Island in the Senegal and the Elmina Castle in Ghana (both already classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage). We will also include a preliminary documentary approach to the Island of Mozambique (classified in 1991 as UNESCO World Heritage and currently benefiting from rehabilitation works) in Mozambique. To this end, the following will continue to be studied: a) contemporary sources from periods of Portuguese colonization and closely associated academic output produced by the partners involved; b) official documentation of the ongoing treaties and protocols of cooperation concerning patrimonial aspects in each country. Analysis will focus on their rhetoric and positioning in a general policy of bilateral cooperation; c) contemporary regional discourses - academic, media coverage and other - relative to the implementation of these protocols or rhetoric inherent to them. This will entail the analysis of published texts as well as open-ended interviewing of their authors and of local governmental and non-governmental organisations; d) now with increasing incidence, tourism processes which parallel those of patrimonialisation; this will involve in loco appreciation of ongoing tourism processes, together with the analysis of the imagery and promotional discourses of the political use of tourism media resources as a promotional means of patrimonialisation and identification. To these it will be added e) a special incidence placed on touristic performances, specially those concerned with «roots tourism» in Ghana and Senegal (guided tours to the slaves houses that re-enact slavery and suffering); f) a first and original research on tourism during the Portuguese colonial period by means of the analysis of advertisements, visual and other kinds of archival documentation about Cape Verde and specially Mozambique g) a comparative study about the social and cultural impact of eco-tourism on local fishing population of the Bijagós archipelago and the National Park of Arguim (Bijagós and Imraguen); h) The same kind of comparative concerns in associated analyses on questions of gender and tourism in Islamic contexts (Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal); these investigations will allow for na analysis to be made of ethnic and national configurations based on new figurations of identity (Portuguese, Arab, Muslim, African, national and diasporic) constructed in partnership by means of processes pertaining to archaeology and patrimonialisation generated by current practices of cooperation and diplomacy and/or assisted by international tourism. This will allow for the objectification of hegemonic discourses, often grounded in concepts such as "historical share", which some times seems bent on wiping out historical and cultural distances that were once pertinent but now tacitly overwhelmed by the imposing monumentalisation of a "shared past". The appropriation or contestation of these discourses will be accompanied in the strategies of negotiating social and cultural identities at a regional and national level. However, at a local level, na effort will be made to understand the daily management of the tourism and heritage taken as "new resources" in contexts of poverty, and the manner that this is determined by and affects previous social norms and categorisations. Largely anthropological, this project has, however, a multidisciplinary approach that brings anthropology, history and geography together. It is na important step in the critical analysis of Portuguese cultural cooperation policies with countries with which Portugal has historical relations and will allow for a monitoring of its social and cultural effects. In this sense, it recovers a cosmopolitan and critical valence of anthropology, placing it at the service of international relations, tourism and development cooperation while opening up room for young investigators in a manner in which the importance of the discipline has been relatively ignored in Portugal.


Full members

Amélia Frazão Moreira

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography

Full members

Francisco Freire

Circulation and Place-Making

Full members

Joana Lucas

Practices and Politics of Culture

Full members

Paulo Raposo

Practices and Politics of Culture

Full members

Raquel Carvalheira

Circulation and Place-Making