Migrant Chronicles: oceans, borders, home.

Tipo: Seminário

Local: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

Data: 15 Março 2019

MARCH 15, 2019 | 14H00



Miguel R. Tinker Salas (Pomona College)

Victor Silverman (Pomona College)

Ângela Campos (University of Sussex / CITCEM)

João Magueijo (Imperial College)





14:30 Seminar opening – Amélia Polónia, CITCEM


14:45 Speaker 1 - Miguel Tinker Salas: “Latin American and the Caribbean, A Continent on the Move, Reconfiguring the Americas!”

Historian Miguel Tinker Salas analyzes the factors that have given rise to the recent immigrant caravans that are appearing at the US Mexico border. The presentation examines how neoliberal economic policies in the last thirty years have transformed labor markets. People have been uprooted, as elites imposed a neoliberal economic model based on the availability of cheap labor and a push towards neo-extractivism. In these same countries the violence generated by the so-called war on drugs has increased, not lessened violence. These condition have created a situation, where remaining in our own country is no longer an option.

Miguel Tinker Salas, a historian and recognized authority on Latin America, is Farmer Professor of History and Latin American Studies at Pomona College.  A prolific author, he is an expert in the history and politics of Mexico and Venezuela. 


15:45 Speaker 2 – Victor Silverman: “Oceans and Walls”

Historian and filmmaker Victor Silverman presents footage from a work-in-progress about longstanding fears of immigrants in the USA and the ways those fears have been challenged yesterday and today. Using archival and contemporary films, the clips place recent anti-immigrant events, such as child separation and the construction of a border wall, into a broader story of past restriction. Yet, it also shows a previous generation of immigrants transforming their intolerant era and a current generation crossing oceans and confronting walls today.

Victor Silverman, an Emmy-winning filmmaker and historian, is Professor of History and American Studies at Pomona College.  He is the author of multiple scholarly and academic books and many articles in the US and international press.  His films have screened around the world. 


16:45 Speakers 3 and 4 – João Magueijo and Ângela Campos:  “Bifes Mal Passados and Olifaque, two views of the experience of Portuguese emigration” 

In this presentation, João Magueijo will describe his emigration experiences narrated in two books: Bifes Mal Passados and Olifaque. The first is an attempt at subversion of feelings of superiority/inferiority associated with emigration from Southern Europe to Northern Europe and perpetuated by the elites of the countries involved. Written at a time of deep economic crisis, the book questioned the narrative of the lazy Latin vs the efficient Anglo-Saxon. Let’s say that Lord Byron’s view of Portugal got a long overdue response.

The second is a novel about the Portuguese community in Toronto. It is written in “emigrese”, the lingua franca half way between Portuguese and English which everyone speaks there. It is a fragile “language” and I attempted to do something towards preserving it. Beyond the linguistic aspects, the book is about the reasons that drive people to emigrate, quite often more dramatic than obvious economic gain. Emigrants are always running away from something deeply traumatic left behind at “home”.

The final part of the presentation, co-presented with Ângela Campos, will outline the forthcoming pilot-documentary project based on short video oral histories with the Portuguese community in Eastbourne, a seaside British town. The approach to understanding participants’ migration trajectories and experiences can be summed up in the phrase “The Stories We Don’t Tell Back At Home.”


João Magueijo was born in Évora, Portugal, in 1967. He  got a PhD in  Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University in 1993, following which he became a Research Fellow at St. John's College, specializing in Early Universe Cosmology. Since 1996 he has been at Imperial College, first as a Royal Society Fellow, then as staff, becoming a Full Professor in 2006. His work includes an attempt to build cosmology upon theories permitting the variation of the fundamental constants of nature, including the speed of light. More recently he has worked on quantum gravity theories, and how cosmology may be used as their "test tube". He has written two popular science books, a travelogue and a novel.

Ângela Campos is a bilingual oral historian and published author particularly interested in the study of lived experiences of war and the use of oral history and life history sources in general. She is a Research Associate at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, UK, as well as Associate Researcher at  CITCEM, at the University of Porto, Portugal. Her latest book is Conscripted Generation: An Oral History of the Portuguese Colonial War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). 


17:45 Closing remarks – Amélia Polónia, CITCEM