Reflections on New Perspectives: IJPDS
In Book IV (43) of his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher and AD Roman emperor, wrote that “Time is like a river made up of events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.” The trajectory leading to the present-day Portuguese diasporic community bears this sense of being part of a time of continuous change. As such, it is a reflection upon the ‘rivers and streams’ of change, permeating a discursive construction of a ‘community,’ that kindles the inauguration of this journal. It is in this context, that the taking up of any specific discursive form ought to challenge the way we study and write about our diaspora, especially when we have entered a period of reconstruction and regeneration in which we seek new forms of collaborative frameworks and interdisciplinary knowledge.
The Interdisciplinary Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies (IJPDS) stems from the initiative of three North American scholars with roots in the Azores: Irene Maria F. Blayer, Brock University, Canada; Dulce Maria Scott, Anderson University, United States; and José Carlos Teixeira, University of British Columbia, Canada; and it originated from an idea proposed by Dulce Maria Scott.
The creation of this journal provoked a range of positive responses from colleagues, academics as well as friends worldwide, and how gratifying it is for us, the two editors of this first volume, to initiate and mark a shift forward toward opening a discursive space in the scholarship for a more nuanced dialogue on the Portuguese diaspora. Since electronic publishing seems to be the obvious way of the future, an online academic publication—intertwined with a print version—of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies (IJPDS) not only brings us easier access to one another’s scholarship, but it also ensures its global availability in a more timely manner.
While the studies on the Portuguese diaspora have increased across a variety of disciplines, journals in the field have focused, for the most part, on a specific discipline or thematic area of research practice; therefore, much remains to be gleaned from an interdisciplinary focus. Innovative and interdisciplinary forms of scholarship are necessary to keep in time with fast-paced changing conditions. As such, we feel that there is a pressing need for a broader dialogue involving Portuguese and non-Portuguese scholars spread around the globe, engendering a kind of collaboration and research relationships that can bring numerous benefits to our diasporic research goals and understanding. IJPDS responds to this need by providing an interdisciplinary and polyphonic forum that encompasses the Portuguese diaspora communities across borders. This initiative draws on the support of an interdisciplinary as well as an international Advisory Editorial Board. Within this framework, we also rely on the imprimatur of peer review, where peer evaluation is tied to academic rubrics, establishing, therefore, the research articles’ value to the field. For this issue, at least three members of the peer review panel acted as peer readers for each submitted text. A further but equally important objective for the editors of this volume is that the works published in IJPDS generate an interest for dialogue, cross-fertilization, as well as research and creative partnerships.
This first issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies (IJPDS) includes research papers, creative writing, a translation, and book reviews. The volume opens fittingly with an essay by Florbela Veiga Frade, featuring the 17th century Portuguese Jewish Nation of Hamburg, as it was challenged by the messianic movement of Shabati Zvi. This paper is followed by two essays that address socioeconomic and cultural aspects of the Portuguese diaspora in North America. The first, by Carolina Marçalo and João Peixoto provides us with an overview of Portuguese-American businesses, their transnational interactions with Portugal and their strategies for sustainability and growth within a changing global context. In the next essay—also connecting with the social sciences—Kelly Gonçalves examines semiotic landscapes, in particular commercial signs and people’s discourse in the Ironbound immigrant neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey. The three essays that follow trail in disciplines related to the humanities. Dora Nunes Gago’s paper features a study of work by Ferreira de Castro and José Rodrigues Miguéis, and how their novels Os Emigrantes and Gente da Terceira Classe, respectively, mirror their emigrant experiences and their relationship with the home country. In her study of Ana de Castro Osório, Célia Cordeiro explores the author’s concerns with socio-political matters related to Portuguese and other Europeans immigrants in Brazil. The section ends with a research paper by Karen Peña, who delves into Cecilia Meireiles’s writings depicting the imprint left on the poet by her experiences and involvement as a delegate at an international congress in India. As the only woman and Latin American at the gathering, she offered a unique perspective on the ways post-colonial societies ought to cope with challenging societal problems. Also featured in this issue are a short story by Julian Silva; poetry by George Monteiro, Antonio Ladeira, and Millicent Accardi; and a translation by George Monteiro of an interview of Jorge de Sena. Five reviews of recently published books on themes related to the Portuguese diaspora complement this volume.
Alongside its attention to the objectives of this journal, and while the contributions speak well enough for themselves, the editors of this issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies have taken great lengths to ensure that the information presented in this volume reflects accurate, original, and up-to-date knowledge informed by careful research and conceptual work. It hardly needs to be said that within this contextual modus operandi, we also hope to have brought together a volume whose interdisciplinary works entwine and enrich the studies on the Portuguese diaspora. Central to the fabric woven throughout this issue is the understanding that our fields of diaspora research continue to enquire into interdisciplinary movements and cross-cultural exchanges.
Finally, with this experience we gained new insights and we have greatly enjoyed working and learning from colleagues from many parts of the world. We close by thanking our authors, editorial team, and peer reviewers for their invaluable support.
Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott