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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

‘Death: the end of our stories, or only the beginning?’ Seminar

The Centre for Transnational Studies
17:00 - 18:30
14 December 2016
65/1177 Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

Event details

The Centre for Transnational Studies hosts a new initiative on Debating Ethnography. The initiative was launched by professor Marion Demossier and ML postgraduates Shawnee Harkness and Clelia Viecelli Giannotti. Its aim is to foster a research forum across the various disciplinary strands in Modern Languages, to engage more widely with ethnography as a research method, involve multi-disciplinary interest across the University and to examine its relevance to modern societies. For more information contact


Dr Eleanor Jones ‘Death stories: encountering the corpse in narratives of Lusophone Africa’

From the earliest days of European maritime expansionism in the fifteenth century, when the unknowability of the territory south of the Sahara inspired terror in the hearts of Portuguese crews, to those enduring turn-of-the-millenium photographs of infant famine victims in Sudan, Africa has been synonymous with death in the Western imagination. Throughout that period, this Western entanglement of Africa with death has provided a circular justification for the objectification and instrumentalisation of African bodies, as well as contributing to the traditional failure of the Western academy to productively theorise the dynamics of power at work on the continent.

While more recent theoretical work on mechanisms of power in Africa has successfully recentered death in its methodologies, these analyses often neglect the specificities of the Lusophone case, despite the historical characterisation of Portuguese colonialism as, variously, more violent and more intimate — in short, more embodied — than any other. With this talk, I seek to lay out some starting points for exploring the relationship between Lusophone African coloniality and death, beginning where the two intersect: with the corpse. In addition, I seek to present some thoughts on how dead bodies have been used by political and cultural actors during the afterlife of colonialism in Lusophone Africa, in ways that have both maintained and disrupted dominant narratives of power.

Dr Scott Soo ‘(Re)moving stories: closure and commemoration at the Gurs internment camp’



Speaker information

Dr Eleanor Jones,My research interests span across the Portuguese-speaking world, and are particularly concerned with the body, gender, sex and sexuality, race, violence and mortality.

Dr Scott Soo,Scott is broadly interested in the contemporary history of France and its relationship with the wider word through the prism of migration. His research has examined the long-term effects of forced displacement and exile on the Spanish republicans in France who were forced to flee the Francoist dictatorship in Spain.

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