Cláudia Castelo is a historian and Research Fellow at the Tropical Research Institute, Lisbon (IICT). She holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, a MA in History of the twentieth century and a BA in History from the New University of Lisbon. She is also a post-graduate in Documentation Sciences – Archives. She has been archivist in the Municipality of Lisbon (2001-2009). Currently, at IICT she coordinates the projectScientific heritage: collections and memories about scientific expeditions to the Portuguese colonies.

Her research interests include the history of the Portuguese Colonial Empire in the twentieth century, white settlement in Angola and Mozambique, and ‘colonial science’. In the current project, she is working on a biographical study of the Portuguese poet, botanist and ethnographer, Ruy Cinatti, and on oral histories and interviews to former scientists who worked in Timor.

Selected publications:

  • 2007Passagens para África: o povoamento de Angola e Moçambique com naturais da metrópole (1920-1974). Porto: Edições Afrontamento.
  • 1999 «O modo português de estar no mundo»: o luso-tropicalismo e a ideologia colonial portuguesa (1933-1961). Porto: Edições Afrontamento.


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  • Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
  • Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa
  • Associated research projects

  • Associated research projects

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 Throughout this long colonial period a great and rich variety of published and unpublished documents was produced by colonial agents.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.

Welcome to the Histo

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

Conference "Crossing

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

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 ...

Conference "Timor Le


Conference Proceedin

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