Scale, Environment and African Societies

2. Scale, Environment and African Societies

This Work Group includes all the projects covering African Landscape and Social Structures mostly framed as a monographic Studies. It includes the following projects:


2.1. Geo-spatial information for development and heritage conservation in South-West Angola
This project intends to produce a regional geographical, historical and anthropological overview contributing to the environmental and historical identity of Southwestern Angola, one of the African regions most affected by desertification. It also aims to contribute to the discussion of regional entities. Have regions physical boundaries and to what degree are they are mainly cultural (man-made) entities?

Therefore, the project aims to map and analyse:

  1. The habitat and the farming systems of this region. The project intends to analyse the types of scale farming operations (ultra-small, small, moderate and large-scale), agro-pastoral activities (combination of trees or shrubs with pastures for animal production) and their trends.
  2. The flora of the various ecological zones, identifying useful plants for food and medicine. The project intends to produce an inventory of the ecological resources of the region and ascertain their importance to local communities – countering the desert expansion and for medical uses.
  3. The archaeological sites (pre-historical and modern ones) of the Huila, Kunene and Namibe Province. Scientific archaeology was just beginning in Angola in the late colonial years. Old and recent identified archaeological sites have never been inventoried and mapped in a systematic database with GPS references. This is the first step to produce a scientific archaeological chart of the Huila, Kunene and Namibe Province.

Main set of expected outputs:

  • A web platform with files for all the identified heritage sites will be displayed.
  • A regional monograph book.  

The results are expected to strengthen the regional civil society (CEAUP will work with the Namibe Angolan Research center CED) and to provide tools for the environmental and social challenges.


2.2. African Foreign Policies and Political Parties

African foreign policies, as well as its political organizations of the last 40 years, still lack monographic studies and have not yet received proper focus as academic fields. This sub-area intends:

  • to focus on  the foreign policies of African States;
  • to list available archive and media sources on these items;
  • to collect oral evidence in order to organize an oral archive;
  • to organize a biannual conference on Foreign Policies of African States, for which a network of research is being organized.


2.3 Regions of Africa

‘R-of-A’ aims at characterizing local and regional spaces of Africa, regarding inter-relations of spaces of power, landscapes of representation and places of practice: ’studying locally but thinking globally’; nature, scale and change are crucial structural elements of research, and cartographical rendering of its results mandatory. It consists of a cluster of two autonomous although inter-related ambits of research.

  1. Portuguese Tropical Geography (1945-1974). This cluster aims to review, drawing on a explicitly post-colonial theoretical basis, the extensive body of work that Portuguese institutions developed in Africa between WWII and Carnation Revolution. Sources, most of them written in Portuguese, are archived in several institutions, along with many works regarding Lusophone and neighboring countries. Materials are to be submitted to extensive critique, full indexation, and internet publication of bibliographical and cartographical exemplars.
  2. African Regions (Space, Landscape and Place). This cluster aims to foster regional studies of African territories, framed into an interdisciplinary methodology. Fieldwork data collected by post-graduate researchers under CEAUP supervision may, under careful editorial management, turn to be excellent syntheses on specific African regions. Three master and one PhD thesis are expected to proceed in each of the five years between 2018-2022. A database of colonial reports and monograph studies will be organized.


2.4. African Cinema and Literary Heritage

This project adopts the comparative model in Literary Studies and particularly under an interdisciplinary framework. Its main focus is on the relationship between African cinema and African authors. Aiming at providing a wider broadcast and new interpretations of modern African cinema, this project focus on how the cinema interact with African fiction authors, as well as the feedbacks between African literature into film-making in both colonial and post-colonial time.
The organization of seminars along with the screening of updated samples of African films will provide the opportunity for new topics and debates, which will be published as experimental results.

R&D Supported by

R&D Unit integrated in the project number UID/HIS/00495/2019.



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