Christoph KalterMay 23, 2023
The Return from Africa and the Remaking of Portugal
Cambridge University Press 2022
In the space of a few months in 1975, more than 500,000 Portuguese settlers fled their homes in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe, and East Timor and “returned” to Portugal. These so-called retornados led to a 5-9% population surge during the tumult of the Carnation Revolution. How did Portugal, with its weak economy, handle this influx as its transitioned out of decades of dictatorship under the Estado Novo? Christoph Kalter’s Postcolonial People: The Return from Africa and the Remaking of Portugal (Cambridge University Press, 2022) analyzes this previously neglected chapter in the history of decolonization. Postcolonial People explores how European nations were remade by the end of empire, through the history of 'returning' settlers from Portuguese Africa.
Christoph Kalter is a historian of modern Western Europe in its global contexts. Currently Professor of Modern History at the University of Agder, Norway. He holds a PhD (2010) and a venia legendi (2019) in Modern History from the Freie Universität Berlin where he taught and conducted research from 2011 to 2020. His first book is The Discovery of the Third World: Decolonization and the Rise of the New Left in France, c. 1950-1976 (CUP 2016), originally published in German in 2011. Postcolonial People: The Return from Africa and the Remaking of Portugal is his second book.
Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.