Decolonising the postcolonial? Disputed heritages

ECHOES International Conference

14 – 16 April 2021

Archeological Site of Valongo Wharf, Rio de Janeiro © Oscar Liberal.

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The Conference is part of the project ECHOES – European Colonial Heritage Modalities in Entangled Cities (Horizon 2020), in which the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro is a partner of the Centre for Social Studies – University of Coimbra and will be held virtually. See:

14th April 2021 – 16th April 2021

Free of charge

Keynote speakers
● Boaventura de Sousa Santos
● Rosana Paulino

Invited speakers
● Aline Montenegro
● Alissandra Cummins
● Ana Lira
● Carla Fernandes
● Mário Macilau
● Mônica Lima
● Thais Alvarenga

ECHOES speakers
● Britta Timm Knudsen
● Elizabeth Buettner
● Elvan Zabunyan
● Jan Ifversen
● Joanna Wawrzyniakj
● John Oldfield
● Lorena Sancho Querol
● Márcia Chuva
● Paulo Peixoto
● Miguel Bandeira Jéronimo

Virtual technical visit
Valongo Wharf / “Pedra do Sal” / “Pretos Novos” Institute

Poetry performance
Slam das Minas

Aim and scope

With the question Decolonizing the postcolonial? we expect to launch a debate on sensitive issues around the colonial heritages in postcolonial contexts in Europe or historically colonised areas. Practices and materializations of those legacies will be discussed, as well as heritage processes, value attribution, their uses and appropriations at global and local scales.

In this congress, the ECHOES project focuses on the following themes and consequent challenges:

The plurality of those legacies and their reinventions by socially, ethnically and culturally diversified groups to highlight and problematise processes of invisibility and silencing.

The ways, languages and strategies promoted by decolonisation processes of colonial heritages which have led to the conquering of rights, reparations and emancipations.

The heritages in dispute and memory struggles involving diverse agents and agencies and presented in different scales, rhythms and chronologies.

Two notions are key to this debate: heritage as an action-concept anchored in history; decoloniality as practice, that is, as an attitude whose movement requires the understanding of alternative ways of producing and validating knowledge. In this way, views and knowledge of diverse natures – forged in social movements, activism and science – capable of producing knowledge and collaborating with decolonial heritage processes will be presented. Above all, we seek to analyse the multiple ways decolonial practices can build bridges and confront racisms and prejudices underlying the present colonial legacy.

In Brazil, the colonial legacy – which is also a presence – is reaffirmed at different times since the country’s independence in 1822, including the abolition of slavery in 1888. Its effects last until today in the form of structural racism. Rio de Janeiro, which hosts this event, and Lisbon are port cities intertwined by the history of the problematic and repeatedly silenced African slave trade heritage. The purpose of this Congress is to debate some of the colonial conflicts and dilemmas that circumscribe these and other realities analysed within the scope of the ECHOES project and to understand how they dialogue with these moving heritage and memories.

Financed by the European Union (European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 770248), the ECHOES project involves the ECHOES project involves six European universities and one Brazilian, one Chinese and one South African university, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, who will be present at the Congress round tables. Among the participant universities are the Conference organisers: the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro – Unirio, in partnership with the National History Museum (Brazil), and the Centre for Social Sciences – University of Coimbra.

The congress will feature conferences, special sessions and round tables, which will address broad territorialities and themes, such as: Museums and Decolonial Practices; Cities, Heritagization and Decolonization; Citizenship and Social and Artistic Movements; Scientific Diplomacy and Colonial Heritage; and Decolonial Heritage Public Policies.

For more information, full programme and registration page: