colonial history of anthropological research in Timor Leste

We are a research team composed of a group of scholars studying the colonial history of anthropological research in Timor Leste from the nineteenth century to the mid-1970s.

Our research covers a broad range of actors and knowledge endeavors associated with the study of the Timorese races, languages, and cultures during the modern period of the Portuguese colonization. We are interested in tracing the colonial, indigenous, and scientific dimensions of anthropological knowledge praxis in the past, and in what we might learn from their historical study that might be significant for future research on Timor Leste.

This website offers updated information on our research work and provides resources for everyone interested in the history and anthropology of Timor Leste.

You can find here details about our research and forthcoming events, as well as a bibliography, a short biographical dictionary of Portuguese authors, online publications, a compilation of links, and news about associated events.

Bookmark this page to keep abreast of our activities!

The project is being developed at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and is funded by the Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal (Reference HC/0089/2009) for the period 2010-2013. It is expected to continue its developments online through this website.

Sponsored by FCT and ICS-UL Laboratório Associado – PEst-OE/SADG/LA0013/2011.

Image: KLM advert 1949. Photo by Ruy Cinatti.

admin On Novembro - 10 - 2011

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  • Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
  • Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa
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Exploring Colonial Anthropologies

  • The presence of the Portuguese in Timor, a small island at the end of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, dates from the mid-sixteenth century. For the next 250 years, Portuguese Catholic missionaries, soldiers, traders, officials, governors, scientists, and military became regular company of the Timorese populations. First based in Lifau (Oecusse), and since 1769 based in Dilly, the Portuguese claimed sovereignty and exercised colonial government over the Eastern half of the island. Today’s nation Republic of Timor-Leste, went by the name of ‘Portuguese Timor’, a colonial province of Portugal, until the Indonesian occupation in 1975. Throughout this long colonial period a great and rich variety of published and unpublished documents was produced by colonial agents.


    From manuscript letters to administrative reports, travelogues, journal articles, or book-length texts, the Portuguese colonial archives offer an abundant field of important material about the past and present of the bodies, languages, and cultures of Timor-Leste peoples. It is this varied and complex colonial material on the history and anthropology of Timor that this research project aims at revealing, exploring, and critically analyze.


    In engaging with these archives, we are concerned not just with how they illuminate former anthropological understandings and colonial encounters between Indigenous and Europeans; we also aim at exploring how they shape current understandings and might help the creation of a post-colonial moment for the history and anthropology of Timor-Leste.

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Welcome to the Histo

We are a research team composed of a group of ...

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Conference "Crossing

Conference "Crossing Histories and Ethnographies" - Lisbon - ICS-UL 1-2 ...

Fonte: Espólio de Ruy Cinatti na Biblioteca Universitária João Paulo II, Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Disponível em: http://www.snpcultura.org/fotografias/ruy_cinatti/23.jpg

Biography of Ruy Cin

NEW BIOGRAPHY OF RUY CINATTI Poet, engineer, botanist, ethnologist, Ruy Cinatti ...

Conferences on Timor

CONFERENCES ON TIMOR LESTE - 2012 In 2012 and early ...

Timor postcard c. 1920s

Conference "Timor Le

TIMOR LESTE: 10 ANOS DE ESTUDOS E TESES. REFLETIR E ...

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Conference Proceedin

On this website you will find the open-access online publication ...