Christabelle Peters is a writer and cultural theorist. Currently a lecturer in Latin American cultural and political history at the University of Bristol, she specialises in the interconnection between race and national identity in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the Atlantic rim. She is the author of Cuban Identity and the Angolan Experience (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Her new book project, Angola after Colonialism: Race, Politics and National Identity (Bloomsbury/I. B. Tauris, forthcoming) proposes an alternative paradigm to Paul Gilroy’s ‘black Atlantic’ for investigating race in Hispanic and Lusophone societies. For Hangar-artistic research centre in Lisbon, she coordinates the ‘Lisboa, África na Europa’ programme, which investigates the possibilities for a multilingual and multiregional conceptualisation of the African diaspora.
Dr Christabelle Peters (with Catarina Simão)
Interviews are a staple of social research, and form part of the mundane landscape of our mediated existence. Radio interviews, magazine interviews, television interviews, director Q&As at film screenings… The format of a guided conversation is something that we take for granted as a codified public performance of the dance of relationship. But if, as the Jamaican sociologist, Orlando Patterson, says, “[a]ll human relationships are structured and defined by the relative power of the interacting persons,” then the suggestion is that power relations lie at the core of interviews. Feminists researchers, for example, believe that the unstructured interview can neutralise the hierarchical, exploitative power relations that they believe to be inherent in the more traditional interview structure.
During the course of her residency at Hangar, UK-based Africanist scholar and writer, Christabelle Peters, will develop a critical multimedia work on the “postcolonial” research interview in collaboration with Portuguese artist, Catarina Simão. Inspired by a series of interviews with the recently-deceased Angolan filmmaker, António Escudeiro, that Peters conducted during the summer of 2012 in Lisbon, the piece will draw on/from a variety of methods, approaches and practices (including qualitative research, archival studies, filmmaking, and performance) to explore the intersectional power dynamics engaged by this far-reaching encounter.