/ ​PROJECT/ MAIN OBJECTIVES

project
MAIN OBJECTIVES

The AfroLab – Building African Literatures: Institutions and consecrations inside and outside the Portuguese-Language Space (1960-2020) investigates the constitution and institutionalization of African Literatures in Portuguese, both in the Portuguese literary space and in the World Literary System. Our main objective is to establish how much African Literatures in Portuguese Language are an institutional creation of agencies based in Portugal and how much their globalization is under the control of non-African agencies. Inspired by Claire Ducournau’s work about the institutionalization of African Literatures in French Language, and following the theoretical framework of Helgesson and Vermeulen, about literary institutions, we intend to prove the hypothesis that the African Literatures in Portuguese Language are a much more European than African creation. We assume that the international promotion achieved through the translation of these works – with the implicit power of consecration and canonization that it implies – is mainly controlled by non-African institutions. In addition, one of the objectives of this project is also to understand the reasons for, since the 2010 financial crisis in Europe – with intense repercussions on the cultural and publishing market –, the interest has been shifted from African authors to a new generation of European Afrodescendant authors. In other words, why does this change occur and in what way is it historical to Portugal's relationship with its colonial past? Although some institutions consider it a direct continuation of African contemporary literatures, such continuity is not clear for us. Finally, starting from the theoretical framework of post-colonial and decolonial studies, we move towards an attempt to faithfully represent African Literatures in Portuguese Language and Afrodescendant literature in Portugal, considering the editorial policies and the visibility of each writer. We will also take into account the echoes of literary and editorial production on the African continent and the particularity of each country.