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Four approaches for the Atlantic

Panel at the UFBA
Panel at the UFBA | © Taylla de Paula

The participants of the last large panel of the conference, debated in Portuguese, at the rectory of the Federal University of Bahia, point to paths towards the tearing down of borders in the Southern axis, and share common problematics.

On topic, there are architectonic, economic, artistic, and literary perspectives that suggest a structural reconfiguration. Mediated by the curator and researcher Diane Lima, the table brings contributions from Filomena Carvalho, Crisanto Barros, Omar Thomas, Claudio Furtado, and Mona Suhrbier.

Political economy of the south

The political scientist Crisanto Barros points out that the current international political and economic dynamics are also responsible for the circumstances in the Southern axis. For the researcher, a society that does not have alternatives to capitalism and liberalism made it so that the two systems became self-referential. Within the implications in this context, especially after the financial crisis of 2008, there are the impoverishment of the middle classes and the turning of the proletariat into being precarious. “Because of this, the South Atlantic needs to recenter its economic, political, and epistemological spaces. As such, we will be able to revitalize our weakened democracies. We must retake up the dialogue as an indispensable condition to think of the past and to construct the future.”

Future urban spaces of Africa

In a reflection about matters of territory, the architect Filomena Carvalho problematized the cities’ directions, as illustrated by the examples of Angola. In presenting the role of the Cabinet of Colonial Architecture, she spoke about the housing and institutional legacy in the whole country. This first movement created terrain for the researcher to conduct comparisons between traditional Angolan constructions and modern architecture. While the former are structures that utilize local materials, count on shading, and deal with a community space for socialization, the latter prioritize free plans, open spaces, and try to respond to matters in a climatic way. Filomena emphasizes that details such as these suggest questions for the futures of urban spaces in Africa. “How is there an adjustment of culture in relation to social impositions, of migratory fluxes, and of the preoccupations related to nature?,” she ponders.

Black poetics

The search for other poetics of foundation conduct the perspectives of the anthropologist Omar Thomaz. Af the European potencies dominated the circuits of ideas in the colonies, it is necessary to escape attempts to frame African or Latin subjects in a context that paralyses them. Departing from an illustration of revolutionary events in Haiti, he presents how history creates a single voice for the narratives of so many protagonists. “The Haitian people had an excellent quality of life in the 19th century. This example shows how important it is to be attentive to echoes about struggles in the historical process.” Thomaz believes that it is necessary to connect the trajectory of people who lived in entirely different political, institutional, and social contexts, but who incorporated the struggle of international scope. This movement will make evident the tuning between the names that acted in distant regions, such as the Uruguayan poetess Virginia Brindis de Salas, and the Mozambican writer Noémia de Sousa, or the Suriname author Anton de Kom.

by Luis Fernando Lisboa