CFP (journal): The “Carnation Revolution”, a Portuguese and worldwide Revolution - Lusotopie journal’s special issue on the 50th anniversary of April 25, 1974

Michel Cahen Discussion

Call for Papers:

The “Carnation Revolution”, a Portuguese and worldwide Revolution

Lusotopie journal’s special report
on the 50thanniversary of April 25, 1974


Michel Cahen (Laboratoire « Les Afriques dans le monde », Sciences Po Bordeaux/CNRS, France)
Yves Léonard (Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po Paris, France)


On the evening of April 24, 1974, the now famous “Captains of April” began their coup d'état in the name of a simple program, that of the “three Ds”: decolonize, democratize, develop. Above all, it was about putting an end to almost fourteen years of colonial war, a war that could not be won militarily, that isolated Portugal in the international arena, that burned almost half of the state budget and that drove the youth into exile to avoid going into battle. The old regime fell the very next day to popular jubilation. While the military called for calm and, if possible, for people to stay at home, the huge demonstrations of May 1, 1974, showed that the coup had become a revolution, first on democratic themes but quickly on social, even socialist themes.

Fifty years after April 25, 1974, Lusotopie is putting together a special issue to examine aspects of this revolution that may have been understudied. The journal is also associated with the colloquium that will be held at the University of Rennes 2, 30-31stof May and 1stof June 2024. Lusotopie encourages shortlisted authors to come and present their articles as papers at this colloquium, which will thus be an opportunity to discuss each text publicly.


The Carnation Revolution, a Portuguese Revolution

The term “O 25 de Abril” is polysemous, questioning political and social history, as well as cultural, economic and international relations history. However, thinking of April 25 as a national fact, as a nation that speaks to itself, is both central and often left out. The nation, largely identified with the Salazarist discourse on the “one nation, from Minho to Timor” and the exaltation of “portugality,” had bad press in the spring of 1974, discredited by almost half a century of dictatorship and colonial wars.

Europe then quickly appeared as a convenient substitute, around the slogan “The empire is dead, long live Europe!” The conjunction of national sentiment and the social imperative could have given a completely different tone to the Carnations Revolution, in the image of those soldiers of Year II (1793), evoked by Victor Hugo, “who fought as revolutionaries and patriots.”

Fifty years later, the aim here is to question the interactions between the 25thof April and the Portuguese nation, and to do so notably from a political and ideological point of view, as a synonym of the end of “a certain idea of Portugal” and as a “historical moment in which the people became the People,” to use the definition of the nation proposed by Pascal Ory (Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?Gallimard, 2020). Did the Carnation Revolution profoundly change the image that the Portuguese―at least the new generations―have of their own nation? Has Europe erased a certain nostalgia for the Empire? What challenges does it pose, with its vast size and population, to a country that has become once again the “small metropolitan rectangle”? Has the extraordinary modernization of the country weakened the attachment to the homeland?

These questions may lead to others, without the objective of making an assessment: it is rather a question of continuing the history of the Portuguese nation, through the contribution of several communications questioning the Portuguese “fact of conscience” at this crucial moment.


The Carnation Revolution, a worldwide revolution

In its very genesis, the Portuguese revolution was international, since it was the combined product of the African anti-colonial revolution and the growing weariness of the Portuguese towards a regime that no longer made sense to the younger generations.

But in addition to the fact that it had a huge impact in many countries―such as France, where it seemed to compensate in some way for the drama of Pinochet’s coup d'étatin Chile just seven months earlier (September 11th, 1973)―and beyond the fact that young Westerners went to Lisbon on “revolutionary tourism” to “see the revolution”, it also had an impact on communities and states that were in one way or another linked to Portuguese history. The following questions can be asked:

– What were the repercussions and effects of the Carnation Revolution in the Portuguese communities that emigrated to Western Europe (France, England, West Germany, Switzerland, etc.), Canada, the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, etc.?

– How did the “Eastern countries” react at the beginning of the process?

– How did countries that had been at odds with Portugal (such as India in 1961 during the capture of Goa), or that supported the Portuguese anti-fascist and anti-colonialist resistance (such as Morocco and Algeria) experience the outbreak and development of this revolution?

– How did countries that supported the Portuguese colonial effort react to the coup (Apartheid South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, or, in a more complex way, the Brazil of the military, or the Spain of the end of Francoism)? And did those who were pushing for negotiations (such as Senghor’s Senegal) react?



The special issue of Lusotopie including the Fiftieth Anniversary issue of April 25th, 1974 will become available in December 2024. Abstracts for proposed articles should be submitted by the end of September 2023. Authors will be informed of the acceptance or not of their proposals in November 2023 at the latest. Articles must then be received by the end of January 2024 for double-blind peer review. Authors whose papers have been accepted (without modification or with slight modifications) or conditionally accepted (with substantial modifications) will be asked to provide the “pre-final” version by the end of April 2024. They will be encouraged to register for the Colloque du Cinquantenaire at the University of Rennes 2 (30-31stof May and 1stof June 2024) to present their work and discuss it in workshops. These discussions may result in some more modifications to the articles. The final version of the texts should be received by Lusotopie by the end of July. Articles can be written in French, Portuguese or English (for other languages, please contact us).

The journal Lusotopie has been published since 1994, and for a long time was hosted by Sciences Po Bordeaux and its Centre for the Study of Black Africa (1994-2009). It is now a semi-annual electronic journal with open access (<>), published by the Institute of Mediterranean, European and Comparative Ethnology (Idemec, UMR no. 7307 Aix-Marseille University and CNRS). Lusotopie is devoted to the analysis of politics in contemporary spaces resulting from Portuguese history and colonization. Its originality is to work within a postcolonial and composite space, present on four continents and in numerous diasporas.


– deadline for submission of abstracts: end of September 2023– selection of abstracts: end of November 2023 at the latest

– deadline for submission of papers: end of January 2024

– publication of the results of the double-blind peer review: end of April 2024

– dates of the colloquium at the University of Rennes 2: 30-31stof May and 1stof June 2024

– deadline for receipt of the final version of the articles: end of July 2024

– publication of the special issue of Lusotopie: December 2024


The Lusotopie issue on the fiftieth anniversary of the Carnation Revolution is coordinated by Yves Léonard (Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po Paris) and Michel Cahen (Laboratoire “Les Afriques dans le monde”, Sciences Po Bordeaux/CNRS). Correspondence, abstracts and articles should be sent simultaneously to the addresses of the latter two: <> and <>, as well as to the editorial address <>.


More information on the journal Lusotopie:

For the Rennes Colloquium, write to André Belo: <>.