Women in the Portuguese Colonial Empire: The Theatre of Shadows

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 1 October 2010.
Hardcover: 365 pages
Language: English
Coordinator: Clara Sarmento
ISBN-10: 1-4438-2366-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-2366-1



Part I: Female Slavery

Chapter One
Memories of Slavery: Women and Human Trade in the Newspapers of Pernambuco, Brazil, from 1850 to 1888
Maria Ângela de Faria Grillo

Chapter Two
Black Slaves and the Practice of Witchcraft in Portugal During the Modern Era
Daniela Buono Calainho

Chapter Three
Female Slavery, Domestic Economy and Social Status in the Zambezi Prazos during the 18th Century
Eugénia Rodrigues

Chapter Four
The Contribution of the Anais de Vila Bela to the Study of Slavery in the Portuguese Empire
Leny Caselli Anzai

Chapter Five
Slave Women’s Children in the Portuguese Empire: Legal Status and its Enforcement
Margarida Seixas

Chapter Six
Women’s Work in the Fairs and Markets of Luanda
Selma Pantoja

Chapter Seven
Food and Religion: Women and the African-Brazilian Identity in the late Nineteenth Century
Zélia Bora


Part II: Literature and Female Voices

Chapter One
Autobiographic Writing and the Adoption of a Female Voice: A Portrait of Mariana Alcoforado’s letters
Betina Ruiz

Chapter Two
Representations of Gender in the Letters and Writings of St. Francis Xavier
Clara Sarmento

Chapter Three
Battle Against Silence: The Diary of Graciete Nogueira Batalha, A Teacher in Macao
Cristina Pinto da Silva

Chapter Four
Female Voices in the Fall of the Empire: O Esplendor de Portugal by António Lobo Antunes
Dalila Silva Lopes

Chapter Five
Ibicaba and the Exploitation of Swiss Immigrants in Brazil
Maria Helena Guimarães

Chapter Six
Settlers and Slavery in Brazil: The Need for a New Approach
Luisa Langford Correia dos Santos

Chapter Seven
Pre-Feminism in the 19th Century: Guiomar Torresão and her Baroness
Monica Rector

Chapter Eight
19th Century Women Travellers: A Female View on the Feminine Condition in Brazil
Teresinha Gema Lins Brandão Chaves


Part III: Cultural Behaviour

Chapter One
The Conquest of Public Space: Female Protagonism in the Religious Sphere (17th and 18th centuries)
Célia Maia Borges

Chapter Two
Equal Before the Law, Unequal in the Community: Education and Social Construction of Female Authority in East Timor
Daniel Schroeter Simião

Chapter Three
The Feminine Ideal of 18th Century Colonial Brazil
Maria de Deus Beites Manso

Chapter Four
Meanders of Female Subordination: When the Servant Becomes the Master
Isabel Pinto

Chapter Five
Gender and Notability: Portuguese Immigrant Women in the Societies of Beneficence in Brazil, 1854-1889
Larissa Patron Chaves

Chapter Six
Women and the Macao Holy House of Mercy
Leonor Seabra


Women in the Portuguese Colonial Empire: The Theatre of Shadows compiles an extensive collection of essays on the status of women throughout the vast Portuguese colonial space, from Brazil to the Far East, crossing Europe, Africa and India, between the 16th and the 20th century. Absent or mystified, silenced or victimized, women in the History of Portugal and its colonial venture are the living example of the part historiographical discourse, ideology and popular memory have played in the construction of identities, their practices and representations. The production and critical consumption of History have long revealed countless gaps and silences within its own discourse. This book questions the reason for such gaps and silences and wonders about the real role of all those who do not or have never had access to power and to the perpetuating word, those whose voices have been systematically erased from sources and documents because of past or present attending interests.

Women in the Portuguese Colonial Empire: The Theatre of Shadows congregates a wide assortment of disciplines so as to provide multiple independent viewpoints, sources and methodologies. By bringing authors from around the world together, this work ensures that the various cultures and memories that are part of the global saga, as well as the various versions of the history of the Portuguese colonial empire may be heard.


Barbara Watson Andaya, Asian Studies Program, University of Hawai’i, USA.
David Inglis, Department of Sociology, School of Social Science, University of Aberdeen, Reino Unido.
ECREA Newsletter, issue 4, June 2009, p. 5.
IIAS Newsletter, nº 48, Summer 2008, p. 46; nº 50, Spring 2009, p. 30.
Philip Rothwell, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey.
Portal de la Comunicación InCom-UAB, Institut de la Comunicació, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.
New Books on Women, Gender, & Feminism, nos. 58–59, University of Wisconsin, Spring–Fall 2011, pp. 27 e 90.
Websites: IIAS (International Intitute for Asian Studies) Network; Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online; Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland; Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical; UNJobs – A Swiss Association; ABES – Agence Bibliographique de L’Enseignement Supérieur.


Michael Pearson (University of Technology, Sydney).
IIAS (International Institute for Asian Studies) Newsletter, nº 51, Summer 2009, p. 31.
Cathryn Clayton (University of Hawai’i at Manoa), Journal of Global History, vol. 4, issue 03, London School of Economics and Political Science, Nov. 2009, pp. 506-7.
Hilary Owen (University of Manchester), Ellipsis: Journal of the American Portuguese Studies Association, vol. 7, 2009, pp. 173-6.


University of Leeds;
University of Liverpool;
University of New South Wales, Sydney;
UCI Libraries, University of California, Irvine;
Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra;
Hamburg University;
University of Macao;
Université de Provence;
Rutgers University, New Jersey;
Penrose Library, University of Denver;
University of Virginia;
Centre d’Étude d’Afrique Noire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique e Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux, Université Montesquieu – Bordeaux IV;
Library of Congress, USA;
British Library;
National Library of Australia;
University of Asia and the Pacific, Filipinas;
Stanford University;
Strathmore University, Nairobi;
The University of Melbourne;
University of Chicago;
Truman State University, Missouri;
Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
University of Nottingham;
University of Macau;
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”;
The American University in Bulgaria;
Universidad de Murcia.


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