CROME <br>Crossed Memories, Politics of Silence: The Colonial-Liberation Wars in Postcolonial Times

Crossed Memories, Politics of Silence: The Colonial-Liberation Wars in Postcolonial Times

February 1, 2017 to January 31, 2023
73 months

CROME’s main objective is to produce a history of the memory of the colonial-liberation wars fought by the Portuguese state and pro-independence African movements. The key hypothesis is that wars, colonial legacies and anticolonial struggles triggered memorialisation and silencing processes which have their own historicity, according to each country and social-political context.
Moored in the interdisciplinary field of Memory Studies, CROME is divided into two strands: the first looks at the role of states in mobilising, articulating and recognising the past; the second strand highlights uses of the past and dynamics between social and individual memories. The intersection of both strands will allow the problematising of the historical role that states, societies and individuals played in terms of generating ‘strong memories’ and ‘weak memories’, and to identify how the memory of this major historical event has been historicised over the last forty years.
The project was designed to identify how the war reverberated in distinct times and spaces but it will also look at the entanglements between the former metropolis and the former colonies: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and S. Tomé and Príncipe. CROME is based upon a combination of different types of sources (written, oral, visual) and will cross different instances of memory production.
Three main challenges will drive the project. A first challenge, inherently historiographic, is that of rethinking the colonial-liberation wars from both a diachronic and comparative perspective. The second one seeks to operationalise the concept of ‘politics of silence’, understood as a set of political, social, discursive and subjective mechanisms which contribute to form selective representations of the past. Finally, CROME will examine the processes of memory historicisation and bring about conceptual frameworks able to analyse them.


CROME will develop an innovative input into Afro-Portuguese War studies. It will bring the comparative dimension to the forefront, by setting to write an unprecedented history of the Afro-Portuguese war memories. CROME will give an innovative contribution to the conceptual and epistemological discussions taking place in the interdisciplinary fields of Memory Studies about the relationship between social and individual memories; about memory and (inter)subjectivity; about building war memories (and silencing processes) and the role played by formats such as social media in generating new historiographical sources.

The approach to achieve academic impact will encompass, besides the organization of seminars, 3 advanced training courses, conferences and the presentation of the project findings in international and/or national conferences, a set of publications: one book with the project’s conclusions, three special issues with an organised selection of presentations in the two thematic conferences and final conference, and papers in peer-review journals.
A documentary film will be also produced to disseminate the results of the project and the research work carried out. The documentary film will gather shots of the interviews to be made during the project and will focus on how war memories are built against the varying national backgrounds, assessing the intensity of both evocation and silencing and the role played by historical cleavages in remembering processes and in establishing what is said and unsaid, forgotten or celebrated, valued or belittled.

memory studies, war memories, oral history, colonial history, post-colonial studies
Funding Entity
European Research Council