Reading between the lines

Living in East Timor, a far-away, post-colonial place (not my own city which lived its own fraught history), I became fascinated with the gaps in history.

What is told? What isn’t told? Amateur oral histories led me to the archives, which led me to ethnography, a form of translation.

While in East Timor from 2001-3, I started studying its contemporary history, and found myself digging deeper into untold episodes of the 20C. I wandered the countryside and Dili suburbs, talking to many people in their 80s, who shared precious narratives with me.

This led me back to Portugal (2003-7), where I spent time in Lisbon’s colonial archives on a Fulbright (recommend!) and did an MA in social anthropology at ISCTE, one of Portugal’s most respected departments.

An ethnographic approach helped me read between the lines of the archives I had spent months and months working in.

I have published some of my research, but some of it will remain for later.

2007 “Communal Conflict in Viqueque and the ‘Charged’ History of ‘59,” The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Volume 8, Issue 1 March 2007, p 27 – 41

2010 “Kabita-Kaburai Indigenous Hierarchies and the Portuguese in Timor” Parts of Asia. Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies 17/18, p 281 – 302

2016 “Os mortos inquietos e o império despido: a II Guerra Mundial e as suas consequências em Timor-Leste (The Restless Dead and the Naked Empire: World War Two and its aftermath in eastern Timor)” in Timor-Leste: Colonialismo, Descolonização, Lusutopia ed. Rui Feijó. Edições Afrontamento

You can consult my thesis index and abstract in English. Contact me if you would like to read any of these or ask for bibliographic advice.