Gonçalo Filipe Antunes holds a MA in Anthropology of Development from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is currently a PhD student in Anthropology at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, where is working on a dissertation titled Mobility, Exhibitions and Colonial History: a study of Timorese in Portugal in the first half of the 20th century. In 2010, he was a research assistant in the project “The sciences of anthropological classification in ‘Portuguese Timor’ (1894-1975)”. He has worked with several development agencies in Mozambique and East Timor.

His main research interests are the mobility of individual in the Portuguese colonial context, colonial exhibitions, colonial history and representation

Selected publications:


  • 2010 Maputo-Maputo: Um regresso na África Austral. Coimbra, Ed. Autor
  • 2011‘Timorenses em Portugal: antropologia e representação na exposição colonial do Porto’, in Actas do Colóquio Timor: Missões Científicas e Antropologia Colonial. Lisboa: IICT e ICS [edição digital]
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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 Throughout this long colonial period a great and rich variety of published and unpublished documents was produced by colonial agents.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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