International Colloquium

48 X 48, a contemporary European past | Portuguese Temporalities in the mirror: 48 years of democracy, 48 years of dictatorship

May 5 and 6, 2022, 10h00-18h00

Alcântara Library (Lisbon)


“For 48 years Portugal lived under the longest dictatorship in Western Europe in the 20th century”. These are the first words of the script with which Susana de Sousa Dias presents her film (2009, Prix Cinéma du Réel 2010 / Centre Georges Pompidou) which the director precisely entitled 48, to underline the number of years which, in the last century, conditioned the mentalities of the populations of the “territorial unity of the Portuguese Empire”, according to the mystique of Salazar's Estado Novo. The Portuguese director faces this authoritarian past, focusing the lens of her camera on photos of political prisoners from the files of the Political Police. Based on these “archives of evil”, the film inscribes on the viewer's retina the faces of a disturbing hereafter, which we look at in front of us and whose voices we hear in the present. Temporality superimposes these two heterogeneous times, accentuating the perception of a silent reality that reappears and is impossible to ignore. The past imposes itself as an urgency in the present.

This present will have a special flavour on April 25, 2022. This date which, since 1974, annually marks the celebration of the Carnation Revolution will also be the occasion to remember the 48th anniversary of Portuguese democracy, placing face to face two periods with the same temporal extension, allowing a form of mise en abîme: 48 years of dictatorship, 48 years of democracy. What balance?  To whom do these memories belong? How do we map out the future?

From an interdisciplinary and transversal perspective, the conference 48x48 - Portuguese Temporalities in the Mirror aims to analyse and debate the circulation and legacies of the memories of this past in the present. The question of memory and the intergenerational transmission of memory will be analysed in the light of three fundamental axes: memory and post-memory of migration, memory and post-memory of the dictatorship, memory and post-colonial memory and, in other words, what memory and what projections in the following generations concerning these times from which Portugal emerges and which Portugal lives?

The international colloquium has a French and Portuguese organisation in the scope of the Cross Season that joins the two countries throughout this year: CRILUS - Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur le monde Lusophone, from the University of Paris-Nanterre, with the collaboration of the Casa de Portugal in the University City of Paris and the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, through the project Maps - European Post-Memories: a post-colonial cartography (FCT - PTDC/LLTOUT/7036/2020) in a collaboration with the Alcântara Library and the municipal libraries of the Lisbon City Council.

The colloquium takes place in Paris at the University of Paris Nanterre and at Casa de Portugal in the University City on April 7 and 8, and on May 5 and 6 in Lisbon at the Alcântara Library, a few metres from the place where the PIDE murdered the artist José Dias Coelho, who today gives his name to the street where this library is located.

Organisers: CRILUS – Université de Paris – Nanterre, Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, through the project MAPS Post-European Memories: a postcolonial cartography, Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT - PTDC/LLTOUT/7036/2020). and Saison Croisée - Cross Season Portugal France