Welcome to “Portugal, Race, and Memory: A Conversation, A Reckoning”

March 24, 2021 from 1:00-2:30pm EST / 6:00-7:30pm Lisboa / 7:00-8:30pm Luanda via Zoom

This interdisciplinary and transhistorical event, co-sponsored by Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme and the English Department Diversity and Inclusion Committee, convenes researchers and practitioners from Spanish and Portuguese, English, and History to discuss the use of personal narratives in reckoning with the relationship between the past and the present. The aim of this conversation is to bridge the gap between Portugal’s legacies of slavery, and autotheory, or life writing, which positions the memory and embodiment of the speakers as central tools that help us understand the lives and afterlives of racial violence.

This event will be moderated by Professor Lisa Voigt (Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University). Presenters include Pedro Schacht Pereira (Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University), Patrícia Martins Marcos (History and Science Studies, University of California San Diego), Kathryn Vomero Santos (English, Trinity University), and Mira Assaf Kafantaris (English, The Ohio State University).

Please register here for this virtual event.

ACCESSIBILITY: This event will have live, human captioning. Do you require an accommodation to participate in an event? If so, please email kafantaris@osu.edu. Requests made two weeks before the event will generally allow us to coordinate seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.


Mira Assaf Kafantaris is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the Ohio State University and a short-term fellow at the Arizona Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies.She is completing her first manuscript, titled Royal Marriage, Foreign Queens, and Racial Formations in the Early Modern Period. Her academic work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben JonsonThe Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s QueensRace and/as Affect in Early Modern Literature, and Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her public-facing work has appeared in The Millions, Overland Journal, The Rambling, The Conversation, Synapsis, and Medium-Equity.

Patrícia Martins Marcos  is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Science Studies at UC San Diego. She is a scholar of Portuguese colonialism and postcolonialism who works at the intersections of STS, history of medicine, material culture, visuality, as well as Black studies. Her dissertation (Con)Figurations of the Human: Political Medicine, Imperial Bodies, and Natural Government in the Portuguese Atlantic 1715-1810 historicizes the power of whiteness to define its others. Located in the eighteenth-century Afro-Luso-Brazilian Atlantic, this work examines how epistemic contests about healing, nature, sexuality, and race centered on the body to reimagine and redefine the human. This work has been supported by, among others, by UCSD’s Black Studies Project, the Huntington Library, and the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Patrícia is currently Associate Editor at the History of Anthropology Review as well as Graduate Representative for the History of Science Society Forum for the History of Health, Medicine, and the Life Sciences.

Pedro Schacht Pereira holds a Doctorate in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Brown University (USA) and teaches Portuguese, Brazilian and Portuguese-speaking African Literature at the Ohio State University (USA). He conducts research in the areas of the relationships between philosophy and literature, exceptionalist discourse (lusotropicalism, Portuguese orientalism, Portuguese philosophy), the luso-hispanic literary and cultural relations in the Iberian and transatlantic spaces, literary theory, and post-colonialism in Portuguese-speaking spaces. He has published articles on these topics, both in journals and collective works, in the USA, Portugal and Brazil.

Kathryn Vomero Santos is Assistant Professor of English and co-director of the Humanities Collective at Trinity University. Her cross-historical research explores the intersections of theatrical performance with the politics of language, migration, and racial formation in the early modern period and in our contemporary moment. Her essays have appeared in Philological Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies, Borrowers and Lenders, and various edited collections. Her recent work on race, coloniality, and bilingual borderlands appropriations of Shakespeare is forthcoming in Shakespeare Quarterly and Literature Compass. She currently serves as Performance Reviews Editor for Shakespeare Bulletin and is working on a book about interpreters and the embodied economies of live translation in early modernity.


Lisa Voigt is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University, and the author of Writing Captivity in the Early Modern Atlantic: Circulations of Knowledge and Authority in the Iberian and English Imperial Worlds (2009) and Spectacular Wealth: The Festivals of Colonial South American Mining Towns (2016). As part of her current research on festivals in early modern Portugal, she is a team member of the project Public Rituals in the Portuguese Empire, based in Lisbon (https://rituaispublicos.wordpress.com).


For a recording* of the event, please click here.

*The recording starts five minutes into the event. The moderator, Lisa Voigt, introduced the event as follows:

“This event started as a conversation on Twitter between Patrícia, Kathryn, and Mira, at a moment of reckoning with slavery’s ever-present brutalities and their own personal connections to Portugal. Patrícia was also collaborating with Pedro on work pertaining to Portuguese colonialism and its legacy (or denial) in contemporary discourse. It is important to acknowledge the vital intellectual and political work of Black Portuguese activists such as Cristina Roldão, Helena Vicente, Beatriz Gomes Dias, Joacine Katar Moreira, and Mamadou Ba, among others, without whose vision, labor, and activism the plight of anti-racism in Portugal wouldn’t have taken center stage, despite the flagrant and violent vilification of many of these individuals in the Portuguese media and by Portuguese society at large.”