The colonization of southern Angola with Madeiran settlers from 1884-5 was both an attempt to re-route outmigration into frontier settlements claimed by the Portuguese government, as argued in the Bastos’ article Migrants, Settlers and Colonists: The Biopolitics of Displaced Bodies and a shift from the failed attempts to recreate in Angola the plantation economy that once flourished in Brazil. In this research track, we will address the colonial settlements of Southern Angola and the parallel development of a plantation society in São Tomé.


Marta Macedo

Marta’s work will address the circulation of plantation knowledge and practices between Brazil and West Africa; it will study cocoa plantations and their relationship with the changing colonial and racial repertoires that emerged in the post-slavery Atlantic World from 1850 to World War I. The research weaves together different local stories (Angola, Brazil, São Tomé, Belgium Congo, German Cameroons and the UK and US chocolate factories) revealing the entangled imperial geographies developed around a specific commodity. Stressing the impossibility of drawing definitive lines between the social and material world, it focuses on how technology, in its codified practices to measure and increase plant and labour productivity, was essential in making, sustaining and exporting both the exploitative ecological system and the brutal racialized social order of these plantations. Together these case studies will also allow exploring the role of the modern plantation regimes that flourished in the abolition aftermath in the construction of 19th-century capitalism.

Cristiana Bastos

Bastos will continue her previous work (2008, 2009, 2011) on the Madeiran migration to Angola, the experience of settlement in the plateau against all odds, the intergenerational production of a memory of frontier colonization, and the dynamics of racialization in Angolan settlements and remigration contexts.

Isabel Noronha

Advisory board

Tiago Saraiva

Ann Stoler


Macedo, Marta. 2021. “Coffee plantations on the move: technology, labour and race in the making of a transatlantic system.” Mobilities, Special Issue on Mobile Labour, ed. Nóvoa, André, Cristiana Bastos and Noel Salazar; accepted 11 November 2020.

Macedo, Marta. 2021. “Displacement, work and confinement: Plantation workers in São Tomé. Slave Subjectivities in the Iberian World, ed. Ângela Barreto Xavier, Cristina Nogueira da Silva, Michel Cahen, Brill; accepted 7 July 2020.

Macedo, Marta. 2019. “Disrupted Ecologies: Conflicting Repertoires of Colonial Rule in Early Twentieth-Century São Tomé.” Pp. 229-250 in Resistance and Colonialism Insurgent Peoples in World History, ed. Domingos, N., Jerónimo, M. B., Roque, R., London: Palgrave Macmillan

Bastos, Cristiana. 2019. “Luso-Tropicalism Debunked Again: Race, Racism and Racialism in three Portuguese-Speaking Societies.” Pp. 243-264 in Luso-Tropicalism and its discontents: The Making and Unmaking of Racial Exceptionalism. ed. Anderson, W., Roque, R., and Santos, R.V., London: Berghahn Books

Bastos, Cristiana. 2017. “Huíla (Angola)Dicionário Enciclopédico da Madeira, 2 February

Conferences and seminars

Macedo, Marta. Cocoa materialities: plantation histories of labor and race.” paper presentation, Panel P033 Bringing race-making and class struggles in plantations and export industries back to the research agenda”, 16th EASA Biennial Conference, Lisbon, 22 July 2020

International Symposium “Plantations and their afterlives: materialities, durabilities and struggles”, convenors: Marta Macedo, Irene Peano, Colette Le Petitcorps, ICS-ULisboa, 16-18 & 24-25 September 2020

Macedo, Marta. “Cocoa Essence: Standardized chocolate and the transformation of the Global South”, paper presentationInternational workshop “Republic of Plants”, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), Chennai, 10-14 December 2019

Macedo, Marta. “Plantation Materialities: Cocoa, technology and labor“, paper presentation, Congresso “Zonas de contacto entre la historia agraria y la historia de la ciencia”, Institut Interuniversitari López Piñero, Valencia 20 September 2019

Macedo, Marta. “Black coffee: migrant labour, race and the making of the transatlantic plantation system“, paper presentation, International Symposium “The Mobile Labour Symposium” organized by COLOUR project in collaboration with the EASA network Anthropomob, ICS-ULisboa, 26-27 March 2019

Macedo, Marta. Roundtable “Moving Crops And The Scales Of History” SHOT 2018, St. Louis, Missouri (USA), 

Other events

Noite Europeia dos Investigadores (NEI), 27 de Novembro 2020. Vídeoclip COLOUR “Plantas que produzem pessoas”


Macedo, Marta. 2020. “São Tomé ‘a joia do imperio’.” Público, 6 December

Other events

Noite Europeia dos Investigadores (NEI), 27 de Novembro 2020. Vídeoclip COLOUR “Plantas que produzem pessoas”