ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

45 – South Asian–Portuguese relationships from the fifteenth century to the present: Colonialism, interactions, and identities

The arrival of the Portuguese in South Asia at the very end of the fifteenth century added one more element to an already highly diverse social ecology. Portuguese missionaries, merchants, soldiers, settlers and officials engaged with local populations in a multiplicity of public and private domains, leaving complex legacies that are still evident today.

Convenors

Hugo Cardoso - Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Linguística, Lisbon, Portugal
Dominic Esler - Independent researcher, Independent researcher (anthropology), St Andrews, United Kingdom

Long Abstract

The arrival of the Portuguese in South Asia at the very end of the fifteenth century added one more element to an already highly diverse social ecology. Portuguese missionaries, merchants, soldiers, settlers and officials engaged with local populations in a multiplicity of public and private domains, leaving complex legacies that are still evident today. Previous research has shown that South Asian–Portuguese interactions were characterised not only by conflict but also by adaptation and exchange, as demonstrated by the contemporary maintenance of Portuguese dialects and local Portuguese ethnic identities in India and Sri Lanka. In this panel we seek to broaden and deepen our understanding of such relationships – and to discover generative points of comparison – by bringing together interdisciplinary research from South Asia and beyond, from the beginnings of Portugal’s South Asian colonies to the present day.

We invite presentations which foreground these issues, with an emphasis on local praxis, in the following three areas. First, historical studies of South Asian-Portuguese interactions in the colonial period, particularly drawing new evidence into these discussions. (We also welcome research on Portuguese colonies elsewhere that considers connections to, or comparisons with, Portuguese colonialism in South Asia.) Second, historical and social scientific studies focusing on the legacies and products of South Asian-Portuguese interactions, up to and including the present, and the maintenance of the Portuguese language as well as local Portuguese ethnic or ethno-linguistic identities. Third, historical and social scientific research on South Asian–Portuguese relationships in Portugal itself, in the past or in the present.