The “North”, Africans in India, etc…


Fundacao Oriente later today, March 10, kicks off a lecture series series that continues its earlier Indo-Portuguese historical and cultural interactions. Some of the topics are interesting, and the speakers are mostly people one could look forward to meeting.
This Thursday, from 6-7 pm, Dr Glenn J Ames has a catchy title for his talk — ‘A Tale of Four Cities: The Provincia do Norte in an Age of Decline and Rebirth, 1640-1683’.
The ‘Provincia do Norte’, or the Northern Province, was the hardly-northern not-far-from-Bombay edge of the colonial Portuguese empire in South Asia.
Dr Ames here tells the story of four cities — Diu, Daman, Chaul and Bacaim (today’s Vasai) — in the rebuilding of the Estado da India of the 17th century, as the Portuguese colonial state here was then known.
He’s Professor of French and Portuguese history at the University of Toledo, USA. He’s currently in Goa as a Senior Research Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies. His earlier books include Renascent Empire?: The House of Braganza and the Quest for Stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, ca. 1640-1683 and Vasco da Gama: Renaissance Crusader (2005).
In this session, Dr Ames’ argument is that the Portuguese by the late ‘seventeenth century, were beseiged by both European rivals (like the Dutch) and indigenous powers like the Mughals and Bijapur.
Comments he: “The decade which began with the loss of Cochin to the VOC (Dutch) and the reluctant transfer of Bombay to the English, ironically also marked the beginning of three decades of vital reform for the Estado da India”. His study looks at the geo-political, religious and economic challenges confronting the Portuguese Crown in Asia, between 166301700 and more. He’ll explain the importance of the “Provinces of the North” in this reformation process.
On March 17, Prof Jean-Pierre Angenot, a Belgian-turned-Brazilian known for his TADIA (The African Diaspora in Asia) Network , explains the history and geography of the current-day often-neglected African diaspora in India.On March 24, journalist-turned-Kala Academy member secretary Vinayak V Khedekar talks on ‘traditional communication technique — phonology’ while a week later photographer Sunil Vaidyanathan talks on ‘India through my lens’.

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