Re-imagined archives: colonialism and decolonization in Africa and the arts of post-memory

The experience of Portugal and other European countries (specifically, given some historical analogies, France and Belgium) in Africa, when colonialism and capitalism mingled and profoundly marked the profile of the “short century”, is still far from full European elaboration. The contemporary puzzle of a Europe torn apart by migratory movements - which is associated with the spread of identity and feelings such as racism and xenophobia - points out that the elaboration of the colonial past is still largely undone. It is therefore a memory, not only traumatic because of the fractures it left in the colonies and the metropolises, but above all threatened with, effacement because it remained on the fringes of the official histories of the colonizing countries and of Europe itself and the successive and natural disappearance of the bearers of this memory: the witnesses.

In this context it is essential to deepen and question the ways in which these legacies were transmitted to subsequent generations and how they hold, rework or fictionalize them. How did one transfer memories from the last days of colonialism to the next generations in Portugal and Europe?

The perspective proposed in this issue of Confluenze is to deepen how the alliance between arts (from literature and cinema, to other visual and performing arts) and memory have contributed and may or may not fill a void that currently leaves European narratives on colonialism incomplete and partial. Alongside the operational and much discussed concept of postmemory, we propose to reflect on a twofold level: on the one hand, how can aesthetic artifacts capture fragments of a threatened past at risk from permanent loss; on the other hand, how the analysis of the objects of memory communities often provokes theoretical questions about the functioning of the memory mediators themselves. It is therefore a matter of critically analyzing the revision, and revisiting, of the abandoned colonial archives in Africa and their re-imagining in the present carried out not only in facts but also drawing from past mythologies.


Editors: Margarida Calafate Ribeiro (CES-UC) Roberto Vecchi (Unibo)

Deadline: 30/9/2020  

Languages accepted: English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

Submission: The essays must be sent to the editors Margarida Calafate Ribeiro  (  and Roberto Vecchi ( and in copy to the Journal contact (

Author guidelines: The essays must have an abstract of 600 characters (spaces included) in English and in the language of the essay, as well as 5 keywords in English and in the language of the essay.

The essays must follow the Author Guidlines at the following  link: