Decolonizing Memory and Spaces: Contemporary Narratives about Portugal’s Colonizing Past




postmemory, dissonant heritage, African cultures, Portugal, postcolonialism


The article aims to show contemporary artistic interpretations of colonialism in Portugal as expressed by Afro-descendants from former Portuguese colonies. The primary focus of this study is the ongoing debate surrounding two monuments in Lisbon. The first monument, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, was originally created in 1940 and subsequently rebuilt in 1960 and is still one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The second monument, the Memorial to Enslaved People, is currently under development and seeks to give voice to African communities in Portugal. The analysis is grounded in a theoretical framework that incorporates concepts such as postmemory, multidirectional memory, and dissonant heritage. The broader context for this study is the UNESCO Decade of People of African Descent (2015-2024).


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Author Biography

Karolina Golemo, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Is a sociologist of culture, holding a degree in journalism and social communication. She is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Intercultural Studies, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Her research interests focus on the cultural diversity of Italy and the Iberian Peninsula, artistic expression of migrants, music in intercultural relations and postcolonial relations in the cultural perspective (in the context of Italy and Portugal). She is an author, among other publications, of two monographs: The image of Poland and Poles in Italy, 2010; Italy. The Mosaic of Cultures, 2019 (together with Agnieszka Małek); recently she co-edited and co-authored two books: Remaking Culture and Music Spaces. Affects, Infrastructures, Futures, 2022 and Spaces of Diversity? Polish Music Festivals in a Changing Society, 2022. A list of her other publications is available at In 2019-2022 she was one of the Principal Investigators in the international HERA – funded project European Music Festivals, Public Spaces, and Cultural Diversity ( Currently she is conducting research on African cultural heritage in Portugal.


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How to Cite

Golemo, Karolina. 2023. “Decolonizing Memory and Spaces: Contemporary Narratives about Portugal’s Colonizing Past”. Politeja 20 (3(84):19-30.