EVENT TYPE Online Conference

EVENT TITLE ‘Narrating the Pearl River Delta’  Conference

ORGANIZING UNIT: CIELA (Research Centre for Luso-Asian Studies), Department of Portuguese, FAH

DATES: July 08 and 09, 2021

Brief Summary of Conference:

On July 08 and 09, 2021 the Research Centre for Luso-Asian Studies (CIELA, or ‘the Centre,” hereafter), of the Department of Portuguese of Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Macau organized the online international conference entitled ‘Narrating the Pear River Delta. The conference was organized in collaboration with the Centre for translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies (CEPTAPS), of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSCH) of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in Portugal.

The aim of the conference was to present recent and ongoing research in various subfields of Humanities on Macau, Hong Kong or Canton in terms of representations of the Pearl River Delta as a geopolitical and psycho-geographical space of Southern China, from a comparatist perspective. This region of costal Southern China is unique in the universal history as a space of encounters and transactional interests. Thus, the conference provided a platform for researchers to present and discuss, among themselves and interested attendees, studies from various fields, such as Literature, History, Social Studies, Visual Arts, and different epochs, in a comparative manner, always bearing in mind the historical past and its current importance.

The conference kicked-off with a brilliantly presented keynote speech by Professor Paul Van Dyke – a world renowned researcher on European presence in China, specifically in the Pearl River Delta. Prof. Van Dyke’s talk was on the historic 19th– century pawn shops of Guangzhou and Macau. He pointed out the uniqueness of these pawn shops, both in their architectural style as well as their mode of operation. The talk was profusely illustrated with images of old documents (Chinese and European) on the pawn shops, as well as relevant paintings and drawings.  Following the keynote speech, and preceding the presentation panels per se, Prof. Emeritus Kit Kellen presented a poetry reading illustrated with some of his artworks. This reading set the mode for the issuing papers of literary and visual representations and narratives, from different periods, by Europeans, of the Pear River Delta.   The researchers presenting at the conference came both from local institutions, as well as from elsewhere.

From UM, besides Prof. Kit Kellen, who is a Professor Emeritus of FAH, two other FAH academic staff presented topics from their respective research: Prof. Dora Gago on “Prejudices and Stereotypes in the Works of Maria Ondina Braga and Rodrigo Leal de Carvalho”, and Dr. Mário Pinharanda Nunes on “Makista Texts in Ta Sssi Yang Kuo: Sociocultural Narratives of 19th-Century Macau and Hong Kong”. Also from Macau, Prof. Sara Augusto, from IPM presented her analysis of contemporary photographer and poet António Mil-Homens’ work: “Poemography,the Writings in black and White by António Duarte Mil Homens”.  A fourth participant from Macau, and also from outside UM, was Prof. Vera Borges, from USJ, who presented a comparative paper on two contemporary poets (Portuguese and Macanese): “Love and History in Two Feminine Voices form Macau”. Regionally stationed researchers presenting at the conference also included Mr. Jason James Santos (SKHCY Secondary School, Hong Kong) on “(Re)reading Hong Kong’s History: The Portuguese who Built across the Delta”.

The remaining presenters at the conference, affiliated and stationed abroad, mostly also presented on literary views of Macau and the region, across different periods in time and genres (poetry and fiction). From Lisbon, Prof. Rogério Puga (CETAPS) presented on “Aestheticizing the (Poetical) Rhythms of the Pearl River Delta: A Comparative Approach to W. H. Auden’s Sonnets “Hong Kong” and “Macao” (1938)”; Prof. Duarte Braga (CEC, University of Lisbon),  “The Literary Relations of Goa-Macau in Ta Ssi Yang Kuo”; Catarina Nunes de Almeida (CEC, University of Lisbon) on “Chinese Fluvial Landscapes in Contemporary Portuguese Poetry”.

Currently in Brasil, Prof. Mónica Simas (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice) presented on “Orphanhood: Stereotypes e Ambivalences in the novel ‘Os Dores’, by Henrique de Senna Fernandes”, and Prof. Everton V. Machado (CEC, University of Lisbon) on “The Modern World-system the Macau in Wenceslau de Moraes”.

Besides the participants stationed in Macau, Lisbon and Brazil, two others in the UK and Spain, respectively, also presented at the conference, namely: Prof. Gustavo Infante (University of Bristol): “And now, João?: Muddy Complexities in John Mateer’s João (2018)”, and Prof. Miguel Hernández (CHAM, NOVA FCSH): “The Report on the Grand Monarchy of China (1642), by Álvaro Semedo: AProto-ethnograhic view of Ming China”.

All four panel sessions of the conference, as well as the Keynote speech were attended by a constant average of 30 attendees, logging in from Macau, Portugal and Brazil. Each panel was followed by a Q & A session.

Judging by the lively discussions held at each of these sessions, between presenters and attendees, as well as individual feedback received from both groups, the Centre considers that the main aims of the event – to promote academic connections as well as to promote the field of study in focus, was fulfilled. As always CIELA strives to spark and encourage the interest among PG students (and aspiring PG students) and current researchers on topics related to Luso-Asian studies, and Portuguese Studies in general.