Society and Identity
The long historical relationship between Europe and India was forged over centuries, starting well before Vasco da Gama initiated Portugal’s five-century old colonial enterprise in India. The Portuguese presence in the small state of Goa and in the coastal enclaves of Daman and Diu was built upon idiosyncratic cultural formations that made Portuguese colonialism in India quite unique, both when compared to later colonial regimes in India, and to Portuguese colonialism in other parts of the world.
This singularity has primarily been studied from a Eurocentric perspective, and more specifically, a Lusocentric one. Consequently, colonial narratives often tend to be privileged and hegemonic, rarely take into account the views and representations of indigenous peoples. This paradigm has in turn shaped the academic study of Goa which has been dominated by Portuguese scholarship and interpretations. Indeed a fresh analysis of Goan society, including a reappraisal of the historical archive, would reveal a deep and mutually constitutive discourse between Portugal and India as it evolved through the nexus of Goan colonialism.
Our panel intends to give voice to the silenced cultural dialogue between Goa and India writ large, during both the colonial and postcolonial periods, through a critically multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of the Humanities and Social Sciences. By diachronically identifying significant periods of the cross-cultural encounter between India and the Portuguese colony of Goa, we hope to better understand the unique mechanisms of this colonial interaction, as well as the postcolonial reverberations that continue to resonate into modernity. By the same token, we seek to elucidate the indelible impact of Indian culture on the colonizer, thereby highlighting the dynamic, dialogic and affective nature of colonialism in Goa.