Behind the Scenes: Transversality of Invisible Lines and Knowledges

Anita Lundberg, Barbara Glowczewski


This special issue draws on ideas from two international meetings of the TransOceanik Associated International Laboratory (LIA). One was held in Paris at the Collège de France in 2014, and the other in Brazil at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, in 2013. The meetings explored the themes ‘Behind the scenes’ (L’envers du décor) and ‘Blurred Interfaces’ (Interfaces troubles).

The papers and filmed discussions presented here show the emergence of lines between transoceanic scenes which have been rendered invisible by colonial history. These threads begin to appear in various forms, including through resistance and Kriolisation in Indigenous North-Western Australia (Préaud); or through the tracing of political histories of colonial territories and slavery across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, and their connection with the contemporary neoliberal order and slavery (Vergès). Also analysed are different forms of performance of historical invisibility: the Carnival of Martinique, for instance, is a stage for the interstitial spaces of French colonialism in the Caribbean islands (Bruneteaux); while the Umbanda Afro-Brazilian cult is encouraging the emergence of indigenous entities alongside the African Orixas in Manaus, Brazil (Montardo). The voice of indigenous people is also coming out from invisibility through different political scenes such as the cosmopolitical discourse of a Yanomami Association in Brazil (Araujo). Despite discrimination and violence faced by many indigenous peoples, Brazil encourages lines of connection and difference through various initiatives, such as a film festival residency programme in Recife that brought together two indigenous film makers, one from Brazil and one from Australia (Athias). Included in this collection is a filmed discussion (Vimeo and Transcript) between four indigenous scholars – three from Brazil (Antunes, Narciso & Tschucambang) and one from Australia (Lenoy) – as they share experiences of the political struggles involved in bringing their cultural heritages into visibility.

This special edition of Etropic seeks to sketch these cartographies of lines of existence and their translocal connections that, although ‘invisibilised’ by history and the current economic and political stage, are threading their way to the front, or working to make a better life in the back stage.

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