“PORTUGAL GIGANTE”: NATIONALISM, MOTHERLAND AND COLONIAL ENCOUNTERS IN PORTUGUESE SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS

M. DORES CRUZ: “PORTUGAL GIGANTE”: NATIONALISM, MOTHERLAND AND COLONIAL ENCOUNTERS IN PORTUGUESE SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS" 2007 (excerpt)

"In this article, I examine the nationalistic discourse and iconography present in Portuguese elementary school textbooks from the Estado Novo period. This analysis is taken in the context of broader political and cultural issues of the creation of Portuguese national consciousness, when pride in a past became a tool used by political officials to mobilize a largely illiterate and, supposedly, submissive population in support of the dictatorship and its policies. Textbooks and other aspects of classroom culture were only some of the means used by the complex propaganda machine during the Estado Novo, devised to justify the country’s superior historical and spiritual right to Empire and, after 1960, to justify the wars waged in Portugal’s African colonies. My research is anthropological in scope, but also self-reflective as it relies on personal experiences, the experiences of my classmates, school textbooks and exercise notebooks, as well as memories of elementary school classrooms and trips as sources of research. However, the goal is clearly not to present a memoir, but instead to ask how textbooks, teaching methods, curricular concerns, and classroom culture in general framed the understanding that the Portuguese have of their past and their place in the world."