Bristol Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor Carolin Overhoff Ferreira, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil

Carolin Overhoff FerreiraAfrican resistance, history and culture in Lusophone film 

3 January - 4 April 2023


Carolin Overhoff Ferreira is an Associate Professor (Livre-Docente) at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, where she teaches contemporary film and art from a decolonial perspective. She holds an MA in History of Art and Theatre Studies/Seminar in Film (1993), and a PhD in Theatre Studies (1997) from Freie Universität Berlin. During her undergraduate years she studied at the University of Vienna, University of Bristol and Humboldt University Berlin.

Professor Ferreira has taught at Hannover University for Applied Arts and Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Portuguese Catholic University in Porto and Coimbra University. She was a Research Fellow at the University of São Paulo, a Visiting Fellow at the Portuguese Sub-faculty/University of Oxford and Visiting Fellow at Jesus College/Cambridge University.

She also has a career in the arts as a dramaturge, curator and theatre critic. She worked at German national theatres, and for Portuguese and Brazilian fringe groups, curated several film shows on African and Luso-African cinema and contemporary film in Portugal and Brazil, and wrote weekly theatre reviews for the prestigious Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.

Professer Ferreira has published monographs on art, film and theatre: Decolonial Introduction to the Theory, History and Criticism of the Arts (2019), Introdução Brasileira à Teoria, História e Crítica das Artes (2019), Cinema Português – Aproximações à sua História e Indisciplinaridade (2014), Identity and Difference – Postcoloniality and Transnationality in Lusophone Films (2012), Diálgos Africanos –Um Continente no Cinema (2012), Neue Tendenzen in der Dramatik Lateinamerikas (1999). She edited O Cinema Português Através dos Seus Filmes (2007; 2014), Dekalog – On Manoel de Oliveira (2008), Terra em Transe - Ética e Estética no Cinema Português (2012), Manoel de Oliveira – Novas Perspectivas sobre a Sua Obra (2013) and África: um Continente no Cinema (2014).

Her articles have been published in Adaptation, Camera Obscura, Forum Modernes Theater, Journal of African Cinemas, Latin American Theatre Review, Modern Drama, Music and the Moving Image, Studies in European Cinema, Third Text, Transnational Cinemas, among others.

Research Summary

Given her previous collaboration with Dr José Lingna Nafafé and shared academic interests, the project for Professor Ferreira’s three-months stay at the University of Bristol consists in the critical study of a Lusophone cinematographic production. There is extensive debate on the relationship between history and film, and a consensus on the importance of this type of study. Yet, little work has been done on the relation between Lusophone African history and its depiction in film. Sérgio Graciano’s Njinga – Queen of Angola, produced in 2013, is a very important and necessary object of analysis in this context because it can help demonstrate how a falsified colonising image of African history, cultures and people is maintained in contemporary audio-visual culture. By foregrounding how the film misrepresents one of the continent’s most emblematic historic figures that led the resistance against Portuguese colonialism, it will be possible to address this key issue. Indeed, the film is the first all-Angolan financed big budget production, but chose to hire a Portuguese director with a career mainly in television. Instead of extoling Angolan history, this resulted in a film full of historical distortions and simplifications of political conflicts, stereotyping of both Portuguese and Angolan characters, as well as glaring misconceptions regarding the African culture of the time. The project is a pilot during which will be develop a more substantial project on African art, namely the Balanta visual art and culture in Guinea-Bissau, of which Dr Lingna Nafafé is native. Accordingly, during Professor Ferreira’s stay at UoB she and Dr Nafafe have a second objective, which consists in developing a project for high-quality funding on Balanta art and culture. It aspires to offer a new perspective and methodological approach by developing a novel theory on African art based on the case study and the critical assessment of the Western concepts usually applied by Anthropology and Ethnology but also in Art History.

Professor Ferreira will be hosted by Dr. José Lingna Nafafe, School of Modern Languages

The following lectures and seminars are planned for her visit, further details will be confirmed shortly: