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Destinations Past and Present

Recovering the São José Slave Ship in Our World

20 May 202215h – 17h

The online conference will be in English and Portuguese

Co-Organizers: Slave Wrecks Project and Museum of Lisbon

Mandatory registration through this form that must be sent to 

The link to the zoom session will be sent after submitting the application form.

With panelists drawn from the international team is recovering the long forgotten story of the Portuguese slave ship, São José Paquete D’ África (owned by José António Pereira, a merchant from Lisbon), and that foundered off the Cape of Good Hope in 1794, this symposium will show how the research into this singular story is revealing the capillary social, political, and economic reach of the slave trade and its ubiquitous role in creating a world that was in so many ways constituted by enslavement at the historic moment that this event occurred. 

The panel will also discuss how the ongoing recovery of this story renders a critique of longstanding historiographies that have minimized, neglected, and worked in many ways to contain the slave trade in ways that have immunized historical accounts from a full reckoning with this difficult past and from recognizing forms of social amnesia in predominant currents of public memory.

Finally, it will examine the ways in which the present-day work of recovering and disseminating these neglected and suppressed histories can foster recognition of – and new grounds for critical engagement with the legacies of the past that continue to haunt the present 

Drawing on their own experiences and work in different corners of the “the world of São José”, the panelists will discuss how this process is playing out in different corners of the world linked by this story including South Africa, Mozambique, Brazil, and the USA. 

By bringing these experiences from across the Slave Wrecks Project into dialogue with critically reflective national and local institutions convened by the Museum of the city of Lisbon, the symposium seeks to bring the provocation that is being explored elsewhere across the globe through a reflection on the past and present meaning of the São José, back to one of this story’s central protagonists: Portugal itself.

Raquel Machaqueiro and Stephen Lubkemann 



I.   Welcome 

II.  Intro to the São José Research Team and the Slave Wrecks Project
     Stephen Lubkemann

III. SWP “São José Team” Panelists: A Deeper Dive

1.   Ricardo Teixeira Duarte (Director, CAIRIM and Emeritus Professor at Eduardo Mondlane University), Yolanda Pinto Duarte (CAIRIM, UEM, Mozambique)

Bringing enslavement back into history in Sites of Enslavement Origination: Inhambane, Mozambique Island, Tete (Arringa)

2.  Jaco Boshoff (Senior Curator IZIKO-Museums of South Africa, Co-Founder of SWP, and PI and Chief Archeologist-SWP São José Research Project) and Paul Tichman (Director of Collections-IZIKO Museums of South Africa). 

From Human Wrongs to Human Rights in an Unintended Final Destination: Archeological Research, Site Stewardship, and Telling the São José Story in post-apartheid South Africa. 

3.  Reinaldo Barroso, PhD Research Director NEAFRICA

Unfinished Histories and New Social Conversations in the São José’s Unreached Destination: Maranhão, Brazil 

4. Paul Gardullo, PhD, Senior Curator and Director of the Center for the Global Study of Slavery, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Co-Director of the Slave Wrecks Project. 

Observations from a Destination 220 Years After the Fact: What a Portuguese Ship, Carrying Enslaved Mozambicans, Headed to Brazil – has to say to American – and Global—Audiences (And how the Smithsonian is working and collaborating to say it) 

5. Kamau Sadiki, "Diving With a Purpose”, SWP Int’l Leadership Team. 

Memory and Identity as Destination: The Impact and Significance of the São José for Afro-Descendant Diasporic Communities – A View from Diving with a Purpose

6. Raquel Machaqueiro, PhD SWP Post-Doctoral Fellow in Public Archeology, The George Washington University and CHAPAS, Portugal.

José António Pereira: Merchant or Enslaver? Forgetting in the Forging of History—and the Question of the Future Destination of the São José in Portuguese Public Memory 

IV. Response Roundtable 

Following the São José Panelists, a “response roundtable” will take up the question of what the story of the São José could and should mean in contemporary Portuguese intellectual and social life, and what forms of dialogue with efforts elsewhere might be mutually productive. 

Paulo Almeida Fernandes, Museu de Lisboa
José António Bettencourt, Universidade Nova Lisboa
Inês Osório, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
José Lino, Associação Batoto Yetu
Alexandre Monteiro, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

V. Q&A 

Raquel Machaqueiro and Stephen Lubkemann 

Navio Negreiro Português em Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro, sendo perseguido pelo Navio da Marinha inglesa H.M.S. Rifleman gravura de 1837.jpg

© Museu de Lisboa