Peripheral urbanization is the main factor in tipping human demography to the city, as hundreds of millions of people latch on to the city margins and improvise residences and livelihoods. These people are mostly migrants, a widely heterogeneous category with the shared challenge of dis and em-placement. Moreover, this sense of movement, migration, hybridity and creativity constitutes the essence of “creole” as a general cultural, linguistic category and the core of Cape Verdean identity. 

Over the past 20 years, the landscape in Lisbon, Portugal for the underemployed, working classes has changed from a mixture of the “social” (a version of project housing) and auto-constructed to almost exclusively “social” neighborhoods. These are public-private-EU projects and consist of standardized designs featuring clustered, non-descript, block-shaped apartment buildings. This shift has provoked local Cape Verdean youth, especially rappers, as well as women, to make more explicit claims to place. In this talk, I argue that the gradual demolition of “improvised” neighborhoods and the subsequent transition to “social” neighborhoods reveal a set of relationships involving identity politics, citizenship in the “New Europe”, and the important role of language in socio-spatial differentiation. This talk focuses on the concept of kriolu, a hybrid language of Portuguese, Wolof and Mandingo, which mediates colonialism, diaspora, racialization, and space in the field of identity politics in post-colonial Lisbon. 


Derek Pardue is an Associate Professor of Brazilian Studies inside the Global Studies Department at Aarhus University in Denmark. In 2015, Professor Pardue published the ethnography, Cape Verde Let’s Go: Creole Rappers and Citizenship in Portugal with the University of Illinois Press. He recently finished his tenure as a Senior Fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute in Germany, where he wrote a book of short stories in the style of ethnographic fiction regarding contemporary black immigrant presence in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.