11:15-12:30 – Session A – Return from Exile (Council Room)

Liliana Worth (University of Oxford)

From Outsider to Insider:

Exile-and-Return and the Transformation of Society in the Cantar de Mio Cid

The early thirteenth-century poem the Cantar de Mio Cid has long been recognised as one of Spain’s literary masterpieces. Its popularity is undoubtedly due in part to its depiction of an exiled hero who wins back the king’s favour through sheer military prowess. What has been overlooked inscholarship, however, is the extent to which the Cid’s political exile-and-return marks the transformation of society within the economy of the poem. Moreover, my reading offers a distinct framework with which to question both pre-modern and contemporary narratives of exile and examine the outsider’s role in shaping society. Initially, the king’s banishment – contrived by members of the higher nobility – indicates the failure of this society to accommodate the Cid and the distinct qualities he embodies, such as dynamism and military prowess.

The hero’s return and subsequent movement towards the centre of power culminates in the displacement of his antagonists. This inversion signals the transformation of a society from one which prioritises a higher yet inert nobility to one which favours a more lowly yet dynamic kind of hero. This work, albeit medieval, is arguably representative of how exile narratives – across periods – are often models of social critique and celebrate the outsider’s power to change society: the protagonists shore up societal flaws and both embody and implement policies that are lacking in the societies portrayed. It is therefore potentially significant that a narrative of political exile should be the basis of one of Spain’s greatest national literary works.

Isabel Macedo & Rosa Cabecinhas (Universidade do Minho)

Diasporic identity(ies): migrants as filmmakers and actors in Lusophone documentary films

Diasporic populations sustain cultural continuity and distinct identities through time, while they also keep links with their original homeland and with populations of same origin across the world. This paper focuses on people who have directly experience enforced migration, and who develop distinct identities and social relations within and across countries. Through audiovisual narratives of people who lived diasporic experiences, by relating image (spaces) and discourse, we have gained a more precise insight to the discussion on the identity process and on the concept of home. The documentaries analysed in this paper – “Goodbye, until tomorrow” (2007) from António Escudeiro and “Dundo, colonial memory” (2009) from Diana Andringa – allow us to reflect on the role of migration experiences in the process of identity (re)making, and their impact on everyday life. These two filmmakers are people who were enforced to leave Angola, where they were born and raised, and came to Portugal. Both returned to Angola after several decades, to review the spaces of the past and to confront their memories. Through content and discourse analysis of the selected documentaries, our main concern was to examine the contexts and the meanings of the messages produced. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews with the filmmakers allowed us to understand the relationship between migration and identity by discussing the notion of what means being at home and leaving home for the two interviewees. Two homes were found in their audiovisual narratives: the real home related to the domestic and familiar spaces, for many years unreachable due to the Angolan civil war, and the symbolic home, connected to memories of exile and nostalgia.