Lúcio Sousa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Management Sciences at Universidade Aberta. He holds a Ph.D in Social Anthropology from the Universidade Aberta (2010) with a thesis on ritual practice and social organization of a Bunak community in the Bobonaro district, East Timor. He has received training in Anthropology (BA Hons, Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas – UTL) and in Intercultural Relations (MA, Universidade Aberta).

In the ongoing project he intends to analyze the contemporary ethnographic material collected in East Timor, mainly in the context Bunak and Kemak, and ethnographic material produced in the Portuguese colonial period. The main issues to be addressed are the ritual and symbolic practices, the role of informants in the production of anthropological knowledge, and the study of myths, particularly those with a confluence of acculturation between local populations and colonial agents.

Selected publications:

  • 2011(editor, with K. Silva) Ita Maun Alin… O livro do irmão mais novo. Afinidades antropológicas em torno de Timor-Leste. Lisboa: Colibri.

Recent articles

  • 2011 ‘A Casa como enunciado: traduções do nós e dos outros na Casa e narrações de origem entre os Bunak – Bobonaro, Timor-Leste’, In Diálogos Interculturais: Os novos Rumos da Viagem,Clara Sarmento (eds.). Vida Económica. pp. 93-103.
  • 2010 ‘«This is the beginning of the relationship»: material supports of cultural translation’, in Paulo Castro Seixas (ed.), Translation, Society and Politics in Timor-Leste, Universidade Fernando Pessoa. Porto, pp. 37-59.
  • 2009 ‘Denying peripheral status, claiming a role in the nation: sacred words and ritual practices as legitimating identity of a local community in the context of the new nation’, in Christine Cabasset-Semedo & Frédéric Durand(ed.),New Nation in Southeast Asia in the 21st Century? IRASEC / CASE, pp. 105-120.
  • 2008 ‘As Casas e o mundo: identidade local e Nação no património material e imaterial de Timor Leste’, in Fernando Cruz (ed.), Actas do III Congresso Internacional sobre Etnografia 2007,AGIR. p. 196- 227.
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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.

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