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Anti-Empire: Decolonial Interventions in Lusophone Literatures$
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Daniel F. Silva

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941008

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941008.001.0001

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Imperial Cryptonomy: Colonial Specters and Portuguese Exceptionalism in Isabela Figueiredo’s Caderno de Memórias Coloniais

Imperial Cryptonomy: Colonial Specters and Portuguese Exceptionalism in Isabela Figueiredo’s Caderno de Memórias Coloniais

Chapter:
(p.173) Chapter Five Imperial Cryptonomy: Colonial Specters and Portuguese Exceptionalism in Isabela Figueiredo’s Caderno de Memórias Coloniais
Source:
Anti-Empire: Decolonial Interventions in Lusophone Literatures
Author(s):

Daniel F. Silva

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786941008.003.0006

In opposing mainstream metropolitan narratives of the imperial past, Figueiredo’s memoir retells many of her traumatic experiences growing up in the colony, beginning with her formation as a gendered and racialized subject and the teaching of desire by her social and familial circles of colonists. She, in other words, utilizes her own placement into Empire’s discursive field in order to contest the metropolis’s dominant post-imperial narrative regarding its colonial past. Of the different characters that emerge from her memoir, her father is undoubtedly the most prevalent. For instance, Figueiredo notably equates her father with colonialism, as the embodiment and voicing of race, gender, and class-based power. The ubiquity of the father in her narrating of the past urges us to think of him as a specter, one that repeatedly destabilizes the present, both hers and that of the former metropolis. This chapter thus utilizes Jacques Derrida’s concept of spectrality in dialogue with his engagement with Maria Torok and Nicholas Abraham’s notion of cryptonomy. The goal of this particular inquiry is to understand the ideological relationship between the field of racial, socio-economic and sexual meaning experienced by Figueiredo as a colonist and the official political narrative of Portuguese pluri-continentality and amicable colonialism promoted during and after the final three decades of Portuguese imperialism.

Keywords:   Isabela Figueiredo, Caderno de Memórias Coloniais, Portuguese imperialism, Lusotropicalism, Imperial crypts, Colonial Discourse

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