Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
This article analyzes the origins and development of Portuguese racial identity as reflected in chronicles of the Portuguese first contacts with Africa and the East and in the context of the nation's cultural history. Starting in the late 1400s with the arrival of Vasco da Gama's ships in India, and continuing well into the sixteenth century with the establishment of commercial outposts along a number of coastal areas in the Indian Ocean, the interaction between the Portuguese and the non-Western world had a significant impact on the cultures of all nations involved and, this article contends, on the formation of racial categories that endure today. Scholars of European history have recently begun to emphasize the need to probe further the concepts of race in early modern Europe in an effort to deepen our understanding of racial thought both at the time and today. This essay contributes to this effort by offering a study of the formation of Portuguese racial identity and by describing how this formation informs present-day racial thought in Portugal.
Original Publication Citation
Mourao, M. (2011). Whitewash: Nationhood, empire, and the formation of Portuguese racial identity. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 11(1), 90-124.
Mourao, Manuela, "Whitewash: Nationhood, Empire, and the Formation of Portuguese Racial Identity" (2011). English Faculty Publications. 44.