Archives in ‘Lusophone’ Film

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
‘Cinema and the World - Studies on Space and Cinema’, Centre for Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon,

Archival practices in the 20th and early-21st century have been understood in a variety of ways. For some, “artists started to rely on the topos of the archive to express their unease about canonic systems for the production of knowledge” (Giannachi, 2016: 131). For others, a reviewing of the archive as a power structure and the blind spots, or silences, it produced was in order (Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 1995: 53). For others still, this ‘archival turn’ grew out of a fascination with historiography and with memory (Spieker, 2008: 26), characteristic of postmodern societies. Two main theoretical frameworks have been consistently called forth in contemporary studies of the archive. First, that of Michel Foucault’s association of the archive not with a building or with the documents there contained, but with the system that governs its ordering, and structures the knowledge there encased [2002 (1969): 145]. Second, Jacques Derrida’s proposition in Archive Fever that the archive is reliant on an archivist as both a guardian and an interpreter, and that of the paradox enclosed in the notion that saving, or remembering, everything will only lead to the destruction of the archive, for if something cannot be found, it will forgotten (1995: 12).​

Filmic engagement with the archive has taken a variety of shapes. From the particularities moving images pose to processes of classification and conservation; to the archival associations of ethnographic film; or to montage, avant-garde and artistic practices that might be read under the umbrella of ‘archiveology’: where archival films “can have a real effect on the archive itself”(Russell, 2018: 90).

The book we propose — Archives in ‘Lusophone’ Film — aims to expand this area of knowledge into a region that has yet to see an expansive international study: the ‘Lusophone’ world. Having lived through an imperialistic and colonial past, the vast majority of Portuguese-speaking countries have faced political disturbances and censorship, economic hindrances and quick developments that raise questions about history and memory, in the public and private sphere, in political, social and cultural terms, and the way in which these have been (or are still to be) archived. Although there are a number of places in the diaspora that still speak Portuguese, ten territories have Portuguese as their official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe. Here we do not seek to imply that the notion of the ‘Lusophone’ is bounded by geographical and linguist regions, instead we look to question these assumptions as remnants of a colonial system that influenced the construction of archives in these territories, identifying both internal and external links and tensions. 

Fostered by the ‘Cinema and the World - Studies on Space and Cinema’ cluster at THELEME – Interarts and Intermedia research groupCentre for Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon, the book will be grounded on case studies – particularly that of film, be it documental, fictional or experimental – to illuminate broader archival processes and thinking.

​We invite proposals for individual papers on topics related to Archives in 'Lusophone' Film, which may include but are not limited to:

  • comparative study of archival processes and methodologies during dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in 'Lusophone' countries;
  • colonial, anti-colonial and decolonial perspectives on film archives;

  • the role of the archive on the construction of history;

  • cultural heritage and collective memory practices: the reconfiguration of memory in archival film works;

  • filmic archival self-reflexivity;

  • the status of the 'original' within found footage;

  • independent and institutional archival spaces and exhibition venues;

  • curatorship of archival films;

  • copyright, legal issues and policy;

  • collection, preservation and availability within institutional archives.

Please send your 500-750 word proposal and 100 word bionote, as well as 3-5 keywords to archivelusophonefilm@gmail.com by October 15, 2019. We welcome initial email enquiries to discuss possible proposals.

​Final submissions will be 5000-6000 words, in English, and submitted by April 30, 2020.

A one-day workshop with the selected authors will be held at the School of Arts & Humanities, University of Lisbon, in June 2020.

Any questions should be sent to

Sandra Camacho, Ana Bela Morais and  Filipa Rosário

(School of Arts & Humanities, University of Lisbon)