The Sciences of Anthropological Classification in "Portuguese Timor"

The Sciences of Anthropological Classification in "Portuguese Timor"

The project aims to understand the interlaced histories of Portuguese colonialism and the anthropological classification of indigenous peoples, throughout the twentieth century. The study will consider these processes in the context of the sciences of anthropological classification in the Portuguese late colonial period. That is, the epistemic regimes and scientific disciplines aimed at ordering biological, linguistic, and sociocultural differences and affinities between peoples. As such, the study will consider a variety of disciplinary variants, methods and traditions of “anthropology”: from biological anthropology approaches (e.g., craniology; anthropometry; sero-anthropology) to sociocultural streams (e.g., comparative philology; social and cultural anthropology). The project takes as its main hypothesis that anthropological classifications and social and colonial order have to be approached as interlaced themes and interdependent processes. We address these wider issues by focusing on a revealing empirical case: the enduring attempts of Portuguese colonial officers, missionaries, and academic anthropologists to classify and chart the “races”, “languages”, and “cultures” of East Timor – formerly named “Portuguese Timor” in the colonial period.

 

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Keywords: 

History of anthropology, Scientific classifications, Portuguese colonialism (Cent.XX), East Timor

 

 

The project aims to understand the interlaced histories of Portuguese colonialism and the anthropological classification of indigenous peoples, throughout the twentieth century. The study will consider these processes in the context of the sciences of anthropological classification in the Portuguese late colonial period. That is, the epistemic regimes and scientific disciplines aimed at ordering biological, linguistic, and sociocultural differences and affinities between peoples. As such, the study will consider a variety of disciplinary variants, methods and traditions of “anthropology”: from biological anthropology approaches (e.g., craniology; anthropometry; sero-anthropology) to sociocultural streams (e.g., comparative philology; social and cultural anthropology). The project takes as its main hypothesis that anthropological classifications and social and colonial order have to be approached as interlaced themes and interdependent processes. We address these wider issues by focusing on a revealing empirical case: the enduring attempts of Portuguese colonial officers, missionaries, and academic anthropologists to classify and chart the “races”, “languages”, and “cultures” of East Timor – formerly named “Portuguese Timor” in the colonial period.

 

Objectivos: 
<p>- Identificação e análise de documentação sobre conhecimento antropológico de Timor, produzida por oficiais, funcionários, e missionaries coloniais entre 1894 e 1975.</p><p>- Identificação e análise de documentação sobre antropologia produzida acerca de Timor por praticantes da escolar de "antropologia colonial" liderada por A. Mendes Correia, entre 1934  e 1960.</p><p>-Identificação e análise de documentação sobre as campanhas da Missão Antropológica de Timor, lideradas por António de Almeida, de 1953 a 1975.</p><p>- Identificação e análise de documentação sobre conhecimento sobre antropologia cultural e social produzida sobre Timor entre a 2ª Guerra Mundial e 1975.</p>
State of the art: 
This project focuses on the connected histories of the anthropological classification of indigenous populations, on the one hand; and colonial encounters, ideologies, and imperial expansion, on the other. This is a central subject in the common history of science and empires, and of anthropology and colonialism in particular, but one which has been marginally addressed by historians in the context of Portuguese late imperialism, let alone of East Timorese history. <br />Since the 1970s, there is a growing interest in the study of anthropology and colonialism, across the history of science, anthropology, and colonial studies. British, French and German colonial anthropologies have been the object of a number of important studies (Asad, 1973; Stocking, 1991; Pels &amp; Salemink, 1999&lt;, Zimmerman, 2001). Scholarly interest in &lsquo;other' histories of anthropology, however, seems to be growing, and recent literature calls for comparative and more inclusive histories of anthropology (Bremen &amp; Shimuzu, 1999; Handler, 1999; Ribeiro &amp; Escobar, 2006; Kucklik, 2007). Yet, Portuguese colonial anthropology has been virtually absent in English-speaking historiography. Even in national academia, it has been overshadowed by scholarly interest in &quot;nation-building&quot; anthropologies (Leal, 2000) and as such remained practically unstudied until recent years (Roque, 2001a).<br />This project is committed to understand anthropological science in relation to the heterogeneity and complexities of colonial projects and encounters (Thomas 1994), thus avoiding simplistic and moralistic views of the associations between &quot;anthropology&quot; and &quot;colonialism&quot; during the Portuguese imperial regime (cf. Margarido, 1975; Gallo, 1988; Pereira, 1989). Roque's previous research on colonial anthropology in Portugal and Goa has shown how connections between physical anthropology, race constructs, and colonial power have to be understood in practice as contingent and equivocal events (Roque, 2001a; 2003); disjunctions between local and metropolitan programmes and practitioners should also be considered (Roque, 2006). Yet, further historical work is needed in order to address fully the critical issue of Portuguese anthropology's interaction with late colonialism, as well as to bring out the broader analytic consequences of the Portuguese case for the history of science and anthropology. In another work, the PI has shown that craniometry and race classification in colonial Timor must be seen in connection with the manifold local cultural and political intimacies between Portuguese and Timorese collectives (Roque, 2009). These insights also require further research with regard to other modes of anthropological knowledge in Portuguese Timor. <br />This project will approach Portuguese colonial anthropology in the wider context of an international history of anthropology and empires. We consider that historical scholarship on Portuguese science has yet to move beyond parochial understandings to consider historically its broader international connections (Roque, 2001b; Nunes &amp; Roque, 2008). We thus intend to develop a fresh analysis of Portuguese anthropology's history that accounts for its transnational dimension. The research team has already been working in this direction. Delgado Rosa has produced a carefully researched account of totemic debates in European anthropology showing the prevailing significance of this theme across distinct anthropological traditions and authors (Rosa, 1995; 2002; 2003). Vasconcelos's analysis of the common history of spiritualism and the anthropology of religion has shown how anthropological themes cut across various epistemological zones - such as religion itself (Vasconcelos, 2008). Roque has approached the formation of Portuguese physical anthropology through a close attention to its connections with anthropology and anthropologists in late nineteenth century France (Roque, 2001b). Further research, however, is required on the involvement of Portuguese anthropology with wider debates, as well as on the nature and significance of international connections throughout the 20th century.
Parceria: 
Unintegrated
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/04/2010
End Date: 
30/09/2013
Duração: 
42 meses
Closed