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Entangled peripheries. New contributions to the history of Portugal and Morocco


Francisco Javier Martínez

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1This volume is a direct result of the international conference Portugal-Marrocos. História, cultura e patrimonio de al-Andalus ao século XXI held in Évora on the 15-16 February 2018. Co-organized by the CIDEHUS of the University of Évora and the Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines (FLSH) of the University Ibn-Zohr of Agadir, the conference gathered together senior experts and young researchers from Portugal, Morocco, Spain, France and Great Britain at the historic building of the Colégio do Espírito Santo bringing forward their contributions to the study of Luso-Moroccan relations from Al-Andalus to the present day. Within this potentially vast field, the conference privileged several specific areas that gave name to its sessions: a) heritage, archaeology and material culture; b) the history of Portuguese-Moroccan relations during the 15th-16th centuries; c) the history and memory of contemporary Portuguese-Moroccan relations; d) medicine and science; and e) minorities and marginalities. A careful selection of presentations dealing with these topics and representative of the epistemological approach that informed our approach to the history of Portugal and Morocco has resulted in the present volume thanks to the generosity and commitment of their authors.

2During the two-day conference, agreements for scientific cooperation were also signed between the universities of Évora and Agadir and between the CIDEHUS and the FLSH. These agreements have put the basis for a regular and systematic collaboration between the above-mentioned institutions with the ultimate aim of promoting the circulation of researchers, the organization of meetings, the development of research projects and the publication of scientific works such as the present volume. We would, thus, like to thank the president of the University of Agadir, Omar Halli, and the reitora of the University of Évora, Ana Costa Freitas, as well as Fernanda Olival, directress of CIDEHUS at that time and Ahmed Belkadi, dean of the FLSH, for their support and encouragement to materialize both the agreements and their first tangible results. With regard to the publication of this volume, we are also particularly grateful to the CIDEHUS for the chance to publish in its series Biblioteca – Estudos & Coloquios, framed within the well-known online platform for humanities and social sciences OpenEdition.

3These promising initiatives of transnational cooperation were only shadowed by the sad departure of Eva-Maria von Kemnitz (Warsaw 1950 – Caxias 2017). An outstanding Orientalist and expert on modern Luso-Moroccan relations, Prof. von Kemnitz passed away just a few months before the Évora conference took place. She had previously participated in the international seminar Entre Portugal e Marrocos held in Évora on 10 May 2017, which was intended as a preparation for the larger encounter that followed. There, she presented recent comparative research on the cultural history of the hamsa or hand of Fátima in Morocco and Portugal. For the Évora conference, Prof. von Kemnitz was planning to make a presentation on the artistic works of José Daniel Colaço and other Portuguese orientalist painters of the 19th century, a research that was interrupted by her sudden and untimely death. To enhance the widespread admiration for her professional trajectory and to express the general estimation for her personal qualities, an homage session was organized during the conference, where academic colleagues and relatives presented her main scientific achievements and praised her distinguished trajectory in Poland and Portugal. Their contributions have been collected as a separate section at the end of this volume.

4The photograph on the book cover is also, partly, an homage to Eva-Maria von Kemnitz. We accidentally came across that beautiful picture of two hands of Fátima on the door leaves of an old Portuguese house at the town of Castelo Branco and we found out, with real incredulity, that it had been taken by a Polish female photographer: Anna Marcinkiewicz. The coincidence in the nationality of intellectual and artist and in the object of their common interest became even happier by the picture’s ability to represent the concept of “entangled peripheries” around which our whole book is organized. Those two hands in the picture, so close to each other, linked to each other as part of the same door, and yet unable to come together, suggest precisely the idea that Portugal and Morocco, despite constant geographical proximity and secular relations, had only occasionally been truly relevant for each other in history, having in fact their backs turned on each other in the last three centuries. We are sure Prof. von Kemnitz would have appreciated both the picture and its symbolism, as well as the artistic work of her fellow countrywoman. We thank Ms. Marcinkiewicz for her kind and generous license to use the photograph on the cover.

5The preparation of the Évora conference and of the present book would not have been possible without the generous help of many people and institutions. First of all, I would like to thank Youssef Akmir, professor at the FLSH of the University of Agadir. Longtime friend and colleague, he has been a main actor and promoter behind all the initiatives that have led to the publication of this volume, in which he has taken charge of the coordination and supervision of his Moroccan colleagues’ contributions to both the conference and the book. I would also like to thank Filomena Barros and Fernando Branco Correia professors of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Évora, for their disinterested and decisive involvement, including the contact with Eva-Maria von Kemnitz and the organization of her homage session. Adel Sidarus, emeritus professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Évora and currently a member of the Institute of Eastern Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University at Lisbon, also kindly accepted our request to contribute to the homage session, more than justified by his condition of PhD supervisor of Prof. von Kemnitz and longtime colleague and friend of hers. In third place, Fernanda Olival former directress of CIDEHUS, and Carla Malheiro and Francisco Brito, of the secretariat of this center, provided the institutional, administrative and creative support required for the organization and public diffusion of the Évora meetings of 2017 and 2018. Madalena Vaz Freire, responsible for the CIDEHUS series at the OpenEdition Books platform, has guided us through all the stages of the edition process, for which we have also counted on the support and advice of Herminia Vilar, current directress of CIDEHUS.

6Finally, I am grateful to the Project IF/00835/2014/CP1232/CT0002 of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), which has funded both my research and some of the expenses of the Évora conference.

Évora, April 2020

© Publicações do Cidehus, 2020

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