"Portuguese" Style and Luso-African Identity

"Portuguese" Style and Luso-African Identity : Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth - Nineteenth Centuries

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In this detailed history of domestic architecture in West Africa, Peter Mark shows how building styles are closely associated with social status and ethnic identity. Mark documents the ways in which local architecture was transformed by long-distance trade and complex social and cultural interactions between local Africans, African traders from the interior, and the Portuguese explorers and traders who settled in the Senegambia region. What came to be known as "Portuguese" style symbolized the wealth and power of Luso-Africans, who identified themselves as "Portuguese" so they could be distinguished from their African neighbors. They were traders, spoke Creole, and practiced Christianity. But what did this mean? Drawing from travelers' accounts, maps, engravings, paintings, and photographs, Mark argues that both the style of "Portuguese" houses and the identity of those who lived in them were extremely fluid. "Portuguese" Style and Luso-African Identity sheds light on the dynamic relationship between identity formation, social change, and material culture in West Africa.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 18mm | 358.34g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 32 b&w photos, 2 maps, 1 index
  • 0253215528
  • 9780253215529
  • 1,436,160

Review quote

"... [an] innovative work....[Mrak's] contribution contribution to architectural history and African studies...lies in his argument that identity is not a stable identifier based on fixed boundaries, but constitutes a continuously dynamic process." -International Journal of African Historical Studiesshow more

About Peter A. Mark

Peter Mark is Professor of Art History at Wesleyan University. He is author of The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest and A Cultural, Economic, and Religious History of the Basse Casamance since 1500.show more

Table of contents

Preliminary Table of Contents: AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. The Evolution of "Portuguese" Identity: Luso-Africans on the Upper Guinea Coast from the 16th to the Early 19th-Century2. Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Architecture in the Gambia-Geba Region and the Articulation of Luso-African Ethnicity3. Reconstructing West African Architectural History: Images of Seventeenth-Century "Portuguese" Style Houses in Brazil4. "The People There Are Beginning to Take on English Manners": Mixed Manners in Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth-Century Gambia5. Senegambia from the Mid-Eighteenth Century to the Mid-Nineteenth Century6. Casamance Architecture from 1850 to the Establishment of Colonial AdministrationConclusions and ObservationsNotesBibliographyIndexshow more