African languages, race, and colonialism: The case of Brazil and Angola

Cristine Gorski Severo, Sinfree B. Makoni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


This chapter explores how language was used in the racial construction of differences and equalities in colonial and post-independent contexts by analyzing the meanings attributed to Portuguese as a language in the colonial era of Brazil and Angola, two former Portuguese colonies. Brazil and Angola played an important role in Portuguese colonization by both contributing and suffering the effects of the use of categories such as language and race as strategy of control and resistance. The chapter argues and illustrates that the ideas of customs, language, and other cultural markers were signs of “civilization” in Portuguese colonization. The deliberate designing of the overlapping categories of language and Portuguese social customs has produced ethnic, social, and political differentiations whose legacy is still apparent in pernicious ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Language and Race
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780190845995
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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