An online lecture with Ricardo Roque (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon): “Scientific Occupation” and the Timor Anthropological Mission in the late Portuguese Colonial Empire
Presented by Pacific Circle
Please register using the Zoom registration site.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022 – 7:00 pm Honolulu time/1:00 am New York time/6:00 am Lisbon time
Abstract: Between the 1930s and 1974, several anthropological expeditions were organized by the Portuguese imperial state to the then Portuguese colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and finally East Timor – Portugal’s small remnant colony in the Asia-Pacific region. These state-sponsored expeditions aimed at collecting field data for the purposes of “colonial anthropology,” an eclectic form of racial science, also known as “anthropobiology.” They were also a political means to realize so-called “scientific occupation,” a prominent concept in Portuguese late imperial policy. This talk considers the history of the field studies and data produced by the latest of these expeditions – the ‘Timor Anthropological Mission,’ launched in 1953-54 – and reflects on its enduring legacies.
Ricardo Roque is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon and an Honorary Associate in the Department of History, University of Sydney. Dr. Roque’s research focuses on the history and ethnography of the human sciences, colonialism, race, and cross-cultural contact in the Portuguese-speaking world, from 1800 to the twentieth century. Among his publications are Headhunting and Colonialism: Anthropology and the Circulation of Human Skulls in the Portuguese Empire (Palgrave 2010) and the edited volumes, Crossing Histories and Ethnographies: Following Colonial Historicities in Timor-Leste (with E. G. Traube, Berghahn 2019) and Luso-Tropicalism and Its Discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism (with W. Anderson and R. Ventura Santos, Berghahn 2019).