Accepted Paper:

Sensing memories among Portuguese Muslims of Indian-Mozambican origin  


Catarina Pereira (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is focused on how a collective memory is being conveyed and apprehended through things among Portuguese Muslims of Indian-Mozambican origin, currently living in Lisbon.

Paper long abstract:

How is a collective memory conveyed and apprehended through things? Can the past be re-lived and re-produced through material and sensorial memories? How do these material and sensorial memories provide new mnemonic repertories for the forthcoming generations to imagine their past and future? With these questions, I have been undertaking a Ph.D research among Portuguese Muslims with Indian-Mozambican background, currently living in Lisbon.

In this research, I have been considering the particular colonial and postcolonial past contexts, in which these people have lived in Mozambique, and their migration processes to Portugal from the 70's onwards. Moreover, I have also been taking into account 9/11 events in these people's identity strategies, and their muslimness constant redefinitions.

These overall processes have also been understood within the global setting landscape, where different objects and things - including mediascapes - circulate, and are available to be used and sensory apprehended, enabling users to connect to their past experiences, and to imagine new worlds (Appadurai 1998; Edwards et al. 2006; Wright 2004).

In this paper, I will be presenting preliminary data from my research, for which I have been carrying out a "sensuous ethnography of things" (Stoller 1989), both in public and private places. Furthermore, I have also been undertaking a family biographical research, based on individual in-depth interviews applied to six family households. Through these methodologies, I hope to be able to explore the inter-generational processes of transmitting embodied and sensory family memories, and its contradictions and tensions in the context of global modernity.

Panel W110
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination