This panel brings together research on pre-colonial and colonial-era African kingdoms and empires in the Lusophone world with contemporary memories, reconsiderations, and reflections on these histories from twentieth and twenty-first-century perspectives in literature, film, and culture. Recent historiography on African and Luso-African culture in the pre-colonial and colonial periods has turned to interdisciplinary methods to understand how Lusophone Africa contributed to the complex pathways of early globalization, thus questioning singular narratives of development. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Pan-Africanist and post-independence state discourses in Lusophone African countries embarked on widespread projects of recuperating local and regional histories, languages, and culture suppressed, erased, and devalued under colonial occupation. State television, public art, museum, film, and literature projects sought to incorporate memories of sometimes-controversial African histories as part of post-independence narratives of national unity and trajectories of centuries-long resistance to Portuguese colonial occupation. By bringing together scholarship focused on these two periods, this panel complicates and nuances such simplified narratives, and examines how the mobility and circulation of African imperial histories beyond the borders of the contemporary nation-states reveal mutable and shifting meanings ascribed to key figures and political entities from the African colonial world.
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