Dienstag, 23. Mai 2017, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Tuesday Seminar

Blue Johannesburg

Pamila Gupta

Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 3
Spitalgasse 2, UniCampus, Hof 5, 1090 Wien


In this paper, I am interested in entwining affect, material-ity and the diasporic imaginings of an older Portuguese immigrant community as a way to reorient our way of seeing contemporary Johannesburg. I look at certain Portuguese colonial signifiers in the making of its post-apartheid present. It is an experiment of sorts, an alter-nate format for writing (and visualizing) this city from the perspective of driving (as opposed to walking as De Cer-teau would have it) and in relation to the literary, orna-mental and sensory as forms of infrastructure and affect. I focus on three traces: Portuguese monumentalism—statues and images of explorers Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias and poets Luis Camões and Fernando Pessoa appear inside church courtyards and in front of sporting clubs; Portuguese styled azulejo tilework covers the walls of corner shops and Catholic churches scattered throughout the southern suburbs of Johannesburg (Rosettenville, Turffontein, La Rochelle, Regents Park), and finally the colour blue that fills these spaces and acts as an architecture of memory for many Portuguese living in Southern Africa. Together, these residues potentially allow us to view Johannesburg as very much a Portuguese city that endures, particularly for its thriving diasporic community that is estimated between 350,000-500,000 persons.


Pamila Gupta is Associa-te Professor at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), at the University of Witwatersrand in Johan-nesburg, South Africa. She is currently working on a new book manu-script entitled Ethnographies of Lusophone Decolonization in India and Southern Africa (forthcoming with Bloomsbury Press).

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Afrikawissenschaften // Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Tabitha Schnoeller
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie