VIII Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture


Lisbon, July 2-7


The Summer School for the Study of Culture, the yearly seminar for doctoral students in the critical humanities and cultural analysis, will in 2018 inspect the contentious realm of cyber, as it performs the fluid and the solid, the evanescence of the cloud and the heavy materiality of technology, the fear of war and the brave world of global information, surveillance and security, the right of inspection and the obfuscation of knowledge. Under the conditions of modernity 4.0, the prefix cyber seems to have become the point of entry for a new narrative of experience. One that draws on a technological unconscious to reboot modes of conviviality, modes of knowledge production, the organization of society, the very definition of democracy, the idea of the human. Coined by mathematician Norbert Wiener, the term cybernetics referred to the science of autonomous machines, that could both adapt their behavior and learn. Cybernetics developed out of a system structured upon coding models. The infrastructure of the new autonomous machines was helpless without the incision, the graphing of the software that would effectively bring them to life.

The Summer School brings together cyber with cipher in order to discuss the manifold incisions that write the machine into life and the strategies that users need to read them back. As Jacques Derrida famously claimed, writing always connotes an element of fracture, of removal from ‘the real’ context. Writing bears the signature of a physical absence – of the subject and of the context – and articulates a moment of rupture, enacted as a counter act or as a mode of dissent under the very act of writing. As our social and cultural experience is being increasingly shaped, written over and redone by the cyber world, it is also here in the utopian drive for perfectioning the human that the hope of resistance before the oblique powers of modernity may lie.

Amongst other theme-related presentations, papers are welcome on the following topics:

  • Cyberculture and creativity;
  • Cyber mediation and the future of cultural media;
  • Citizenship, the public space and the right to privacy;
  • Cyberactivism;
  • Writing cybernetics: Net literature and the literary network;
  • The transformation of the face of war;
  • Surveillance and critique;
  • Cyberterrorism/cybersecurity and the artistic conviviality;
  • Critical thinking in the age of drones;
  • Representing cyber.



  • Mandy Merck (Royal Holloway College)
  • Carla Ganito (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
  • Frederik Tygstrup (University of Copenhagen)
  • Marie-Laure Ryan (independent scholar)
  • Lev Manovich (City University of New York)
  • Luís Gustavo Martins (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
  • Gustavo Cardoso (ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)
  • Manuel Portela (Universidade de Coimbra)

The Summer School will take place at several cultural institutions in Lisbon and will gather outstanding doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. In the morning there will be lectures and master classes by invited keynote speakers. In the afternoon there will be paper presentations by doctoral students.

Paper proposals

Proposals should be sent to no later than February 20, 2018 and include paper title, abstract in English (max. 200 words), name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning ongoing research.

Applicants will be informed of the result of their submissions by March 15, 2018.

Rules for presentation

The organizing committee shall place presenters in small groups according to the research focus of their papers. They are advised to stay in these groups for the duration of the Summer School, so a structured exchange of ideas may be developed to its full potential.

Full papers submission

Presenters are required to send in full papers by May 30, 2018.

The papers will then be circulated amongst the members of each research group and in the slot allotted to each participant (30’), only 10’ may be used for a brief summary of the research piece. The Summer School is a place of networked exchange of ideas and organizers wish to have as much time as possible for a structured discussion between participants. Ideally, in each slot, 10’ will be used for presentation, and 20’ for discussion.

Registration fees

Participants with paper – 265€ for the entire week (includes lectures, master classes, doctoral sessions, lunches and closing dinner)

Participants without paper – 55€ per session/day | 180€ for the entire week

Fee waivers

For The Lisbon Consortium students, there is no registration fee.

For students from Universities affiliated with the European Summer School in Cultural Studies and members of the Excellence Network in Cultural Studies the registration fee is 50€.

Organizing Committee

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil
  • Peter Hanenberg
  • Alexandra Lopes
  • Paulo de Campos Pinto
  • Diana Gonçalves
  • Clara Caldeira
  • Rita Bacelar

For further information, please contact us through



Society of the Spectacle – 50 Years Later

CECC Fieldwork 2017 | November 23-24


“All life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles,” writes Guy Debord in his 1967 book, The Society of the Spectacle. “Everything that was once directly lived has become mere representation.” In the theses that follow, Debord offers a revolutionary critique of contemporary capitalist society, a striking vision of a world reduced to the superficiality of images.

For Debord, the concept of the spectacle “unifies and explains a great diversity of apparent phenomena.” And today, in an era of so-called “post-truth,” a hyperreal, liquid modernity in which, as Marx once presciently wrote, “all that is solid melts into air,” the spectacle represents an enduringly valuable concept through which to interpret capitalist society. We live in an age saturated by social media, in which “selfies” hold more weight than actual lived experience, where our lives (both real and virtual) are dominated by advertisements at every turn. Images in urban environments mediate and commodify our social relations on a daily basis, while the 24-hour news cycle helps reduce “knowledge” to a series of vapid, sporadic flashing images. It is within such a context that The Society of the Spectacle finds its real relevance.

The book has stirred considerable controversy and debate. Michel Foucault, for one, insists that modern society is, in fact, “the exact reverse of the spectacle.” For him, “our society is one not of spectacle, but of surveillance.” Meanwhile, Jean Baudrillard builds upon the work, suggesting that the concept of spectacle has been superseded by a new, dystopian regime of simulation. And Sadie Plant shows how many of the ideas of the Situationist International, of which Debord was a member, have come to influence ideas of the postmodern, but in ways which mark a certain political “break.” The work has, arguably, been drained of its fundamental radical qualities, co-opted by the mainstream and repackaged as benign rhetorical theory. In The Society of the Spectacle, as Debord predicts himself, the concept might be reduced to “just another empty formula of sociologico-political rhetoric.”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its publication, this two-day symposium, as part of CECC’s annual Fieldwork meeting, will explore the impact and legacy of this pivotal work. In what sense does the spectacle unify or explain the contemporary world? How do individuals and communities produce, confront or challenge spectacle on a daily basis? How relevant is Debord’s spectacle thesis in a rapidly changing contemporary cultural and political landscape? This symposium welcomes contributors to address current local and global concerns through Debord’s ideas, from the increased influence of digital media, the portrayal of refugees and the risk of ecological disaster to gender performativity, urban development and nationalist discourse. We invite academic colleagues, artists and thinkers of all stripes, from Lisbon and beyond, to come together on November 23-24 and join us in a spectacular retrospective of this landmark text in political and cultural theory.

Workshop: Call for Participation
During this two-day symposium, we seek to (re)engage with Debord’s pivotal work and attempt to delve into not only its historical significance, but to also ask new questions about the book’s contemporary relevance. On the morning of November 24, we will organise a student-led workshop, a space for emerging researchers to share their thoughts, ideas and work related to The Society of the Spectacle.

We invite proposals for short, 10-minute papers which engage with the notion of the ‘spectacle’ with both its contemporary and historical relevance and on its use as a theoretical or practical tool. Motivations for papers may include, but are not limited to, the following disciplinary themes, interests and topics:

  • Literary theory and criticism
  • Modernist and postmodernist philosophy
  • Post-war French intellectual theory
  • Media studies and the critique of media
  • The critique of everyday life
  • Migration and the centrality of the image in its contemporary portrayal
  • Political theory
  • Activism and the relationship of research to politics, policy and practice
  • Visual culture and its epistemologies
  • Urban topographies and political spaces
  • Ethnographic approaches to the experience of spectacle

Abstracts (250 words) and a short biographical note should be sent via email to  and , including title, name, contact details and institutional affiliation.
The deadline for submission is 27 October 2017.

For further information or questions, please contact one of the organisers:

Reuben Ross:
Matt Mason:





August 14th-18th 2017 – BERGEN, NORWAY




New deadline for paper proposals : May 26

”Living Together” is the joint venture of the European Summer School in Cultural Studies (ESSCS) and of the Norwegian nationwide researcher-training school TBLR (Tekst Bilde Lyd Rom = Text Image Sound Space), in Bergen, August 14th-18th, 2017. (See also ”Background” in our website’s topbar.) The TBLR has seven member universities, and is since the turn of the millenium Norway’s largest nationally networking PhD researcher-training school within literary, aesthetic and cultural studies. The ESSCS is a network-based seminar for interdisciplinary-research training in the fields of art and culture, and it consists of eight European university partners.

14th through 18th of August 2017, ESSCS and TBLR’s tandem efforts aim for a truly international inter-aesthetic and cultural-study event for PhD students, keynotes and participating faculty. Venue is Bergen: Norway’s second largest city, founded in 1070. Bergen is a beautiful city, internationally connected, bustling with life, trade and culture, and centuries of living together. It is situated on the West Coast with its amazing archipelago towards the North Sea, and it is at the same time the gateway to the fjords.

Under the heading ”Living Together”, this Call for Papers is anchored broadly in some of the work of Roland Barthes, Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Derrida. You are cordially invited to apply for participation with papers bearing some relation to the following wide plethora of topics. (On PhD student-paper topics, however, see also further specifics under ”Practical details” below.)

Roland Barthes:

Originally, Roland Barthes gave “Comment vivre ensemble? ­Sur l’idiorrythmie” as a Cours at Collège de France from January through May in 1977. In the Comment vivre ensemble manuscripts (published in English as How To Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces (2013)), Barthes uses five main literary references to isolate five perspectives – or topoi. His literary references are Palladius’ The Lausiac History, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Mann’s The Magic Mountain, Zola’s Pot Luck and Gide’s “The Confined Woman of Poitiers”. Barthes’ five perspectives call for closer investigation in many specific directions, as the list of related issues and extrapolated concepts shows. The five topoi are the desert, the island, the sanatorium, the city and the home.

These five perspectives function as part of the framework for organising the activities of the TBLR and the ESSCS in Bergen. The PhD students are invited to participate in the plenary sessions where invited keynotes present their talks followed by ensemble discussions, and in one of three groups where the students’ pre-submitted papers are discussed. Keynotes will be given according to the issues.

There are numerous connections between the five topoi; they complement each other, create differences and show the complexity of the issues of living together in human societies:

(1) DESERT. As a concept, the “desert” is generally thought of as a desolate and emptylandscape, interpreted by writers, philosophers, composers, film-makers, artists and critics as a place of extremes. As the landscape of the desert contains dryness, silence, margins and, with some exceptions, lack of fauna and flora, it may serve as a metaphor for anything from death, poverty or religion, to the primitive past, desolate future and nomad culture, but also retirement, withdrawal and acedia (a mental state characterised by indifference, boredom, fear, loss of desire etc.). Since Bishop Palladius’ Lausiac History there is an extensive literature on the subject of deserts. As the American poet Robert Frost writes in his poem “Desert Places”, the desert is among other things related to loneliness and sorrow, the feeling of bearing a void: “I have it in me so much nearer home/To scare myself with my own desert places”. This platform invites to think the idiorrhythmic and idiorrhythmic life as vulnerable and exposed to death. Suggestive key words for PhD student-paper topics and perspectives: death, religions, rules, margins, poverty, silence, acedia/melancholy, nomads, withdrawal, retirement, refusal.

(2) ISLAND. In the history of literature and of myths, the island is a metaphor for isolation, individuality, strandedness, forsakenness, but also independence, new life and creativity based on reduced circumstances. The number of fictional islands is great, from Avalon (Arthurian legend) and Neverland (Barrie) to Treasure Island (Stevenson) and Kokovoko (Melville); from New Atlantis (Bacon) and Utopia (More) to Fraxos (Fowles) and Isla Nublar (Jurrassic Park). As in John Donne’s phrasing, “No man is an island”, the metaphor is obviously open for a questioning of the very essence of idiorrhythmic life. For the summer course, the topos of the island also opens up for reflection on immigration. Bhabha points to the unmappable spaces – in-betweens and liminalities – which appear as archipelagos of or on the outer and inner margins of nations and metropoles: they are produced today primarily by global flows of migration and established diasporic cultures, in which hybrid identities flourish in contemporary cosmopolitan societies.Suggestive key words: isolation, boundaries, independence, individuality, civilisation, migration.

(3) SANATORIUM. The sanatorium is a now outmoded concept for health care institutions or places of recreation for people suffering from tuberculosis until the TB epidemic died down in the 1940s, thanks to antibiotics, as well as for places treating nervous disorders. The life of the sanatorium is described in literature: in novels, short stories and poems, especially from the 19thand 20th Centuries (e.g. Skram, Hamsun, Mann, Plath, Solzjenitsyn), as well as in our time, where it occupies an important place in films (Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), television (von Trier’s Riget), and theatre (Verdensteatret’s The Hourglass Sanatorium). On the other hand, the sanatorium as institution is described in documents and literature concerning public health systems (public accounts and reports on hospital organisation etc.). The particular essence of the sanatorium is that it is closed, but at the same time submitted to public direction. At the summer school, the sanatorium as institution, idea and metaphor may include an exploration of the telos and the the idiorrhythmic of the life at institutions. The sanatorium can be taken as exemplary of various institutions in which people spend parts of their lives living together, such as retirement communities, cruise ships, colleges and prisons. Suggestive key words: health, death, institutions, institution analysis, illness and identification.

(4) CITY. While the city may be regarded as the opposite of the desert, it has affinities to the island metaphor as well as to the topos of the home. The topos of the city invites reflections on various modern life forms, analyses that are focused on idiorrhythmics. In literary studies the modern city has been described as a mythological heterogeneous space for fascination and imagination (e.g. Benjamin, Stierle, Berman). It has also been regarded as a place for anonymity, consisting of alienated literary heroes (Dostoyevsky, Hamsun, Kafka). Cities have been recognized as sites for innovation and for speeding up technological solutions, infrastructure and social relations (Virilio). While they are places for activity and exhaustion, yet city planners have always acknowledged the need for resting places as necessary conditions for a well-functioning city. Cities can thus be seen as places where rhythms of activity and rest, engagement and isolation, become crucial questions. The topos of the city is characterised by paradoxical dynamics: the crowd/loneliness, interaction/anonymity, speed/rest. The city has further been recognised as a place where feudal family structures are challenged, and for experimenting with a huge variety of ways of living together, a major theme in 19th, 20th, and 21st Century fiction (e.g. Dickens, Balzac, Zola, Dostoyevsky, Döblin, Joyce, Cole, Auster).Suggestive key words: urbanity, food, media, ecology, rhythms, finance, information, digital life, recreation, anonymity, single life, dating.

(5) HOME. The topos of home is wideranging, covering the everyday routines, family life yet also, as metaphor, a place that provides a guarentee for identity, health, nutrition, shelter and security. In this sense, home is close to the topoi of island and sanatorium, and as metaphor it is also opposite to city and desert. Traditional food is one of the products of the home, and may be studied as a specific sort of the idiorrhythmic, linked to the notion of taste as both physical and cultural phenomenon. In Barthes’ research the home is also, in his reading of Gide, a place that may be the scene of a crime, that is, characterised by the Freudian notion of the Unheimlich. In the center of home is the idiorrhythmic of shared life as well as the individual, single life forms. Suggestive key words: the everyday, routines, food, rest, taste, solidarity.

Giorgio Agamben; Jacques Derrida:

The summer course’s broadly inclusive topic of Living Together also raises the question of the status of the ’singularities’ that in some form or way actually did, do or may live together. Whether individuals, human persons, members of a community; or bodies, biological entities or other forms of bare life; or linguistically communicating interlocutors, or linguistic beings performatively speech-acting, etc. – the question of the status of the “singularities” also actualises their being’s relation to language and to the law and the subject positions endorsed, allotted or produced by the rights of law, and by language. This makes some of Giorgio Agamben’s work highly topical and inspirationally relevant for our event, as well as some of Jacques Derrida’s work.

Among the works by Agamben that bear particular relevance for the summer school event, are The Coming Community ([1990] 1993); Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life ([1995] 1998); State of Exception ([2003] 2005); and The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life ([2011] 2013).

Similarly, there is a series of works by Jacques Derrida that come to mind in the perspective of the summer course’s topic, Living Together. Some of these might also prepare the ground for exciting comparison, as is the case with Agamben’s works. What has been referred to as an ’ethical’ turn in Derrida’s production, introduced a period of fifteen years plus, during which time Derrida was particularly concerned with problems and promises related to living together. At a closer look, and as has also been contented, both an ’ethical’ and a ’political’ strand may prove to traject through all of his production.

At any rate, Derrida during the latter part of his life, and still ’deconstructively’, was highly concerned with topics such as violence, subjection and extinction, death, loss, memory, mourning; furthermore, globalization and cosmopolitanism; and not least, with topics such as forgiveness, responsibility, friendship (as opposed to brotherhood), hospitality, the gift, as well as with a sustained thinking of the ’democracy to come’. All of which are thought in radical fashion, and which seem to reverberate with topoi, topics and perspectives in both Barthes’ and Agamben’s work actualised here, and with the summer school’s main heading, Living Together.

Among the works by Derrida that seem to bear particular relevance for the summer school event, are The Work of Mourning (1981; in which is included ”The Deaths of Roland Barthes”); Memoires: For Paul de Man (1989); The Gift of Death ([1991] 1995); The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe ([1991] 1992); The Politics of Friendship (1994); Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money (1994); Of Hospitality (2000); On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness(2001); Rogues: Two Essays on Reason (2005; in which is included “The Last of the Rogue States: The ‘Democracy to Come’, Opening in Two Turns”).

A note on suggestive key words for possible PhD student-paper topics: For the work of Georgio Agamben and for that of Jacques Derrida, our CfP does it the other way round with regard to the possible scope of inspiration: Beyond referring to relevant works by Agamben and Derrida, the CfP does not list specified, suggestive topoi, perspectives and key words on a par with the level of detail as in the case of Roland Barthes’ book. The idea is to attempt to productively mingle ’two modi of inspirational suggestivity’ – that of the organisers (’detailing’ Barthes) and that of the enlisted participants (’detailing’ Agamben and Derrida).

Therefore, you yourselves are encouraged to productively select, work out and specify ’living-together perspectives’ on relevant work by Agamben and Derrida.

Suggested Reading List

Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Community. Transl. Michael Hardt. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, [1990] 1993.

–––––––. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Transl. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press, [1995] 1998.

–––––––. State of Exception. Transl. Kevin Attell. Chicaho and London: University of Chicago Press, [2003] 2005.

–––––––. The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life. Transl. Adam Kotsko. Stanford: Stanford University Press, [2011] 2013.

Anyuru, Johannes. En Storm kom från paradiset (2012). Stockholm: Norstedts, 2013.

Bakhtin, M. “Forms of time and of the chronotope in the novel”. In The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: Univ. Texas Press, 1981.

Barthes, Roland. Comment vivre ensemble. Simulations romanesques de quelques espaces quotidiens. Cours et séminaires au Collège de France (1976-1977). Paris: Seuil, 2002.

–––––––. How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces. New York: Colombia UP, 2013.

Bourdieu, Pierre. La distinction. Critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Minuit, 1979,

Baudelaire, Charles. “Le Spleen de Paris”, in: Œuvres Complètes, Tome 1. Paris: Gallimard/Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1975.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000.

Benjamin, Walter. The Writer of Modern Life. Essays on Charles Baudelaire. Cambridge Mass.: Belknap Press, 2006.

Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts Into Air. The Experience of Modernity. Penguin Books, 1988.

Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.

Certeau, Michel de. L’invention du quotidien II, habiter, cuisiner. Paris: Gallimard,1994.

Canguilhem, Georges. Le normal et le patologique, Paris: PUF 1966; The Normal and the Pathological. New York: Zone,1991.

Coles, Teju. Open City. London: Faber & Faber, 2011.

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe [1719]. London: Penguin 1994.

Derrida, Jacques. The Work of Mourning. Ed. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Mann. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1981.

–––––––. ”The Deaths of Roland Barthes”. In The Work of Mourning. Ed. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Mann. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1981. 31-68.

–––––––. Memoires: For Paul de Man. Transl. Lindsay, Culler, Cadava, and Kamuf. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

–––––––. The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe. Transl. Pascale-Anne Brault, Michael B. Naas. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, [1991] 1992.

–––––––. Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money. Transl. Kamuf. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992.

–––––––. The Politics of Friendship. Transl. George Collins. London and New York: Verso, 1994.

–––––––. The Gift of Death. Transl. Wills. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [1991] 1995.

–––––––. Of Hospitality. Transl. Rachel Bowlby. Stanford, SUP, 2000.

–––––––. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. London: Routledge, 2001

–––––––. Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Transl. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

–––––––. “The Last of the Rogue States: The ‘Democracy to Come’, Opening in Two Turns”. In:Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Transl. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005. 78-94.

Foucault, Michel. Naissance de la clinique. Paris: Gallimard, 1963.

Gide, André. “La Séquestrée de Poitiers” [1930], in Ne jugez pas, Paris: Gallimard/NRF, 1969.

Goffman, Erving. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. New York: Anchor Books, 1991.

Lefebvre, Henri. Critique de la vie quotidienne. Paris: L’Arche, 1947.

Mann, Thomas. Der Zauberberg [1929]. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1998.

Palladius. The Lausiac History [AD 423]. New York: Newman Press, 1998.

Pfaller, Robert. On the pleasure principle in Culture: Illusions without owners. London: Verso 2014.

Rabinowich, Julya. Spaltkopf: Roman. Wien: Deuticke Verlag, 2008.

Sassen, Saskia. The Global City. New York: Princeton Univ. Press, 2001.

Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. London: Penguin, 2006.

Stene-Johansen, Knut et al. (eds.). Å leve sammen. Roland Barthes, individet og fellesskapet. Oslo: Spartacus, 2016.

Taïa, Abdellah. L’Armée du Salut. Paris: Seuil, 2006.

Ugresic, Dubravka. The Ministry of Pain. London: Telegram, 2011.

Zola, Émile. Pot-Bouille [1882], in Les Rougon-Macquart, Vol 3. Paris: Gallimard/Bibliothéque de la Pleiade, 1964. –––––––––. Pot Luck, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1999.



Practical details

See the “Living Together” course website, which will be updated continuously; keep checking back for updates. – Here are the most important details:


–– Course layout: We start the summer course with luncheon at 13:00 on Monday 14th Aug., then go on with a half-day (afternoon and early evening) programme that day; and then continue with full-day programmes both Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 17th Aug. Festive dinner offered on Thursday evening (on the organisers). Good-byes and departures after breakfast and before noon on Friday 18th.


–– Programme: “Living Together” is a combined keynote topic/plenary-discussion event, and a PhD paper-discussion course. There will be five Scandinavian/international keynotes on the programme, whose names and topics will be disseminated on the webiste as confirmations are in. Already now, though, we are happy to announce the first keynote, prof. Knut Stene-Johansen (Comparative Literature, University of Oslo), with whom the scholarly idea about “Living Together” originated, and who – with his Oslo-based research group – has already published a first project anthology: Knut Stene-Johansen et al. (eds.):  Å leve sammen. Roland Barthes, individet og fellesskapet. Oslo: Spartacus, 2016 (to be transl. into and publ. also in English). – For the PhD paper-discussion sessions, the participants will be organised into relevant thematic groups, composed of PhD students as well as of TBLR/ESSCS-faculty and keynotes.

The detailed programme will be posted and disseminated when fully confirmed.


–– Time frames/duration/length: Keynotes are set up with 45-minute lectures, and the same amount of time allotted to the ensuing discussion. – PhD student-paper discussions are set up with a total time frame of 1 to 1,5 hours for each single one, in the course of which time up to 20 introductory minutes are allotted to the PhD student’s oral presentation/contextualisation of her/his paper, and the remaining time to a rich discussion between the PhD-student author, student peers, TBLR/ESSCS faculty, and keynotes, with comments, questions, further suggestions, etc. This structure – while all student papers are mandatory beforehand reading for all participants, thus leaving ample time for a rich discussion of the papers.


–– PhD student-paper topics: (1) a paper bearing a relation to some aspect or problem detailed or suggested in the ”Living Together” Call for Papers (Barthes; Agamben; and/or Derrida); (2) a paper stemming from the PhD student’s ongoing dissertation work, like a chapter, a section, an excerpt, a focus on a special problem, theoretical or other, lifted out of the dissertation-writing process for particular, critical attention, etc. – all of which with or without a relation to the CfP; (3) a paper presenting and critically discussing one or more of the works on the course’s reading list. – Bear in mind that inter-aesthetic and comparative as well as disciplinary papers are welcome. – Max length of paper: about 15 pp, 1,5 line spacing, Word: Times New Roman.


ECTS points for PhD students: 5 ECTS with a paper; 2 ECTS without.


–– Venue for the course as well as for all participants’ hotel rooms 14th-18th Aug. will be Hotel Scandic Neptun, downtown Bergen, one street removed from the historic wharf and the quayside. The hotel rooms (covered by the organisers throughout the duration of the summer-course), will be spacious double rooms, housing two PhD students in each (a summer-school room-mate system, which also creates an extra and contact-facilitating atmosphere).


–– Travel costs will have to be covered by the PhD students themselves or through the PhD-trajectory means that they themselves have at their disposal. Other than that, hotel rooms and full board (three meals a day) from Monday 14th at noon through Friday 18th Aug. at noon will be covered by the TBLR/ESSCS (the dinner on Wednesday is the exception: Wed’s dinner is open for each and every one to find another restaurant in the city, and on that particular evening pay their dinner themselves).


–– Application deadline (extended till late May) will be 26th May 2017 (to, with max. 300 words paper abstract submitted at the same time. In your application, please state whether you require vegetarian or vegan meals.

–– Paper-submission deadline: 1st August 2017 (as attachment, to


–– Options for prolonged individual (tourist) stays in Bergen: This is a possibility – yet then, expressly, at the personal expense of the participant her/himself. This could be either during the week-end prior to, or during the week-end immediately following the “Living Together”-event: In the case that such prospective individual wishes would be for our venue hotel (Hotel Scandic Neptun), these queries should be directed to, who will then handle them vis-à-vis our Hotel (Neptun). – All other private-stay sojourns before and/or after the summer course – i.e. outside of Hotel Scandic Neptun – should be arranged by – and in that case, too: paid for by – the individual course participant her/himself.


VII Graduate Conference


VII Graduate Conference in Culture Studies

25–26 January 2018

School of Human Sciences ׀ Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon

Preoccupation with theories and practices of representation and othering, across the breadth of various genres and disciplines, has moved forward debates about positioning in research and modes of constructing and producing knowledge. In Meatless Days (1989), a vivid memoir of her girlhood in postcolonial Pakistan, Sara Suleri Goodyear deplores being regarded as an “otherness machine” — a concern Kwame Anthony Appiah (1991) shares in his famous critique of postcolonial literature, culture and critical studies. A host of scholars who tend to conflate the post-isms as such contend that postcolonial theory and praxis are embedded in Western institutions that shape the field. Aijaz Ahmad (1992) and Arif Dirlik (1994) have argued that, owing to its reliance on poststructuralist approaches, postcolonial thought excludes questions of economic and political power structures. A staunch Derridean who uses deconstruction to uncover and disrupt such inevitable hegemonic relations of power in the academy or elsewhere, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1999) has likewise dissociated herself from the postcolonial mainstream. Edward Said (1983), whose groundbreaking book Orientalism (1978) sets out a toolbox for colonial discourse analysis, has grown more and more dissatisfied with the untenable apolitical nature of the theoretical insights of Derrida, Foucault and others. Yet, some scholars, and Said himself, have pointed to the geocultural limitations of his theoretical model. In considering discourses of orientalism and balkanism, for instance, Maria Todorova (1997) argues that, unlike the Orient, the Balkans is a concrete entity that is peripheral, but not completely other, to Europe. Paul Gilroy has challenged the racial and ethnocentric biases inherent within British cultural studies in his first major work There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack (1987). His discussion of diasporic hybridity (1993), however, has been censured for being gender-neutral. In his seminal essay The New Cultural Politics of Difference (1990), Cornel West locates his polemic on the emergence of the new black (or African-American) cultural worker in a critical historical juncture that might be comparable to what Stuart Hall calls “the end of the innocent notion of the essential black subject” (1988). More recently, Arjun Appadurai (2006) has made the case for research as a human right — an exercise of the imagination that is intrinsic to knowledge citizenship in the era of globalization.

This conference considers the theoretical and methodological conundrums researchers and creative practitioners in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences face when encountering sites of alterity. We invite proposals that engage with the concept of alterity and subject it to a searching critique through the lenses of multiple academic disciplines. Themes of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Representations of alterity in film, literature, architecture, the visual and performing arts, etc.
  • Alternative media, politics and creativity
  • Multicultural, intercultural and transcultural communication
  • Critical human geography
  • The everyday — its antecedents and simulacra
  • Sociality and the ethics of care
  • Hybrid modalities of identity and difference
  • Ethnographic translations of radical alterity

The working language of the conference is English.

Individual paper presentations will be allocated 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for questions. Proposals for panels of 3 papers (90 minutes) or roundtables of 3–5 participants (60 minutes) related to the theme of the conference are welcome. We aim to integrate an ambitious range of perspectives. Proposals incorporating practice as research, or other creative work, are encouraged.

Please send an abstract (250 words) and a brief biographical note (150 words) to All proposals should include a title, your name(s), contact details and, if relevant, institutional affiliation(s). The deadline for submission of proposals is 31 August 2017. Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent on 1 October 2017.

Keynote Speakers

Jeremy Gilbert ׀ Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, University of East London

More keynote speakers to be announced soon

Organizing Committee

  • Amani Maihoub (CECC-UCP)
  • Gregor Taul (CECC-UCP)

The Graduate Conference in Culture Studies is an annual meeting organized by Doctoral students of the Programme in Culture Studies of The Lisbon Consortium, based at the School of Human Sciences (Universidade Católica Portuguesa).

“Risk and Crisis Communication in the Digital Age”

Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 19 – 21 October 2017

Crisis Communication research emerged as a response to the need of conceiving emergency plans to deal with events that have a negative effect on stakeholders’ perception of organizations. However, researchers soon demonstrated that crisis communication is more than a reaction, and it should be perceived as a strategic tool to plan organizational life. The absence of a strategic crisis management thinking and discourse, besides posing a risk to organizations also limits response to societal challenges such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and wars. In addition to this, the Digital Age poses new risks to the typical planning methods, while making available new sorts of tools that can be used to plan, implement and evaluate crisis management.
Departing from this context, the 5th International Crisis Communication Conference aims to discuss how crisis communication can be used by business and the public sector in a strategic fashion. Which theories and case studies can help better plan and implement crisis communication plans? How do organizations learn from the past, i.e. how do they evaluate previous crisis and order to be better prepared for the future? How did the digital challenge traditional strategies of crisis communication? Which sorts of new risks are brought by digital media and how can one learn from previous online crisis? Are corporate and non-corporate organizations ready to face online crisis communication?
While seeking answer for these questions, the conference will deepen and extend the exchange of ideas and approaches across disciplines and between Crisis Communication theories and researches.

  • To examine the role and practices of communication professionals in relation to internal and external aspects of crisis communication,
  • To reflect about and to expose new roles and practices of strategic approaches to internal and external crisis communication,
  • To contribute to knowledge development about crisis communication cases of public and nongovernmental organizations,
  • To discuss and reflect about crisis communication theories and research,
  • To present case studies based on empirical material,
  • To clarify the importance of a strategic crisis communication plan.

The conference includes a panel for corporate discussion and cases presentation, which will contribute to the industry crisis management debate. The conference will also include Young Scholars activities – YECREA.

Submissions should deal with one of the following sub-themes:

  • Corporate Crisis Communication;
  • External Crisis Communication;
  • Internal Crisis Communication;
  • Non-Corporate Crisis Communication;
  • Public and Nongovernmental Organizations Crisis Communication;
  • Integrated Communication;
  • Crisis Communication Management;
  • New Media Crisis Communication;
  • Strategic Crisis Communication Management;
  • Media/Journalism (crisis reporting).

Presentation proposals in English language are to be submitted as meaningful extended abstracts (max. 500 words, references excluded). Abstracts should state the title of the presentation, purpose, theoretical approach, methodology, (expected) findings, implications, relevance, and originality of the study. Include contact information for all authors (name, organization, address, email address and phone). Abstracts must be presented in Word format, in 1.5 line spacing and 12 point Times New Roman font size.

Deadline for submissions
The deadline for submissions is April 17, 2017. Please send the abstract to: Notifications of acceptance will be sent by e-mail by June 9, 2017.

The Registration Fees are:

  • 70€ lunch and coffee-breaks included;
  • 95€ Conference dinner included;
  • 35€ non-presenting.

Keynote speakers
Professor W. Timothy Coombs – Texas A&M University (confirmed)
More to be announced soon
Organizing Committee
Professor Carla Ganito
Professor Nelson Ribeiro
Professor Maria Inês Romba

The 5th International Crisis Communication Conference will take place at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Lisbon (Portugal), on October 19 – 21. The conference is organized by the ECREA Crisis Communication Section, and hosted by the Research Centre for Communication and Culture (CECC), Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP).





Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies

September 7-9 2017

Goethe University Frankfurt

The sixth Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies summer school will be hosted by the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform from September 7-9, 2017 at Goethe University Frankfurt. Confirmed keynote speakers are Aleida Assmann (University of Konstanz), Andreas Huyssen (Columbia University, New York) and Anna Reading (King’s College London).

This year’s Mnemonics summer school addresses the ‘social life of memory’. Memory studies is based on the premise that memories emerge (as Maurice Halbwachs argued) within ‘social frameworks’. But this is just the first stage of memory’s social dynamics. Those memories which have an impact in culture don’t just stand still, but lead a vibrant ‘social life’: They are mediated and remediated, emphatically welcomed and harshly criticized, handed on across generations, they travel across space, become connected with other memories or turn into a paradigm for further experience. Conversely, books about the past that are not sold and read, oral stories that are not passed on to grandchildren, history films that are not screened and reviewed, monuments that nobody visits, public apologies that do not engender heated debates – all these will fail to have an effect in memory culture. Memory ‘lives’ only insofar as it is continually shared among people, moves from minds and bodies to media and back again, is performed, remediated, translated, received, discussed and negotiated.

Once we conceive of objects and media as part of memory culture, we realize that these are not stable entities, containing unalterable meanings, but that they unfold their mnemonic significance only within dynamic and transitory social processes. This insight entails methodological consequences. It creates the need to use more complex theory/methodology-designs in order to do justice to the moving constellations we study. This may also mean connecting humanities- and social sciences-approaches. Reception theories, reader response theories, audience studies, performance studies, sociological and political science-methods, museum visitor studies, social history, social psychology, ethnography, or actor-network theory – these all belong to the long list of approaches that we may want to draw on in order to study what our research group here in Frankfurt calls ‘socio-medial constellations’ of memory.

The metaphor of the ‘social life of memory’ is not yet a clear-cut concept. However, it resonates with existing ideas, from Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘social life of discourse’ to Arjun Appadurai’s ‘social life of things’ or Alondra Nelson’s ‘the social life of DNA’. It also brings to mind the ‘afterlife’ of artworks as it was addressed by Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin. More recently, and within the new memory studies, Astrid Erll and Stephanie Wodianka have addressed the life of ‘memory-making films’ by studying their embeddedness in social contexts and in ‘plurimedial constellations’. In her study of Walter Scott, Ann Rigney has theorized the social (after-)lives of texts and authors in cultural memory.

The summer school welcomes paper proposals that display a keen interest in the dynamic interplay of medial and social aspects of memory culture and that suggest ways to explore ‘the social life of memory’ – from the perspectives of contemporary memory cultures across the globe as well as from historical viewpoints. Possible topics include, but are emphatically not restricted to, the following:

  • What social practices and networks bring (and have historically brought) memory to life (or fail to do so)?
  • How are media of memory socially framed and reframed?
  • How can we study the social reception of media of memory (e.g. via discursive remembering, in interpretive communities, by historical audiences etc.) ?
  • What are the social dynamics of memory-translation (the ‘cultural translation’ of memories, but also ‘literal translations’ of memory texts)?
  • Which performances express and foster the social life of memory, or inhibit it?
  • How do memory objects ‘travel’, what are their trajectories (or mnemonic ‘object biographies’)?
  • What are the economics and politics of mnemonic objects (in the sense of Appadurai’s ‘social life of things’)?
  • How do space and movement influence the social life of memory?
  • How does time factor in the social life of memory (when do memories emerge, circulate or become inert)?
  • How does politics enable or interfere with the social life of memory?
  • What types of ‘social life’ can we distinguish (lives as ‘monumental memory’, as ‘countermemory’, ‘agonistic lives’ etc.)?
  • How can we critically assess the logic of the metaphor of ‘social life’ (and its possible religious, biologistic etc. overtones) and find concepts that fine-tune, substitute or complement it?


ESSCS – Winter Seminar

Lisbon, January 25-26, 2017

Underwriting Culture/Cultures of Under-Writing

Deadline for submissions: January 9, 2017

Underwriting generally refers to an act of guaranteeing, sponsoring, backing, enshrined in insurance practices. By literally writing under the signature of the owner of the insured cargo, by countersigning, the insurer confirmed the acceptance of the risk of the endeavor and guaranteed the insured’s right to claim compensation for eventual hazard. Underwriting then provides legitimacy to an activity (shipping) and its object (cargo) and grants it institutional recognition by a regulatory body. The practice legalizes as well, by placing under the control of a body of legal practices, activities that could even eventually have been situated at its very limits (e.g. slave trading, contraband, et alia). Underwriting provides a promise of stability to a risky endeavor, while acting as a contract that expects to hold on the avowal of the risks it aims to back.

In literal terms however, underwriting connotes the prefix under as a resistance to the very act of writing, marrying under with counter (as in countersigning). As Jacques Derrida famously claimed, writing always connotes an element of fracture, of removal from ‘the real’ context. Writing bears the signature of a physical absence – of the subject and of the context – and articulates a moment of rupture, enacted as a counter act or as a mode of dissent under the very act of writing. In fact, “If a certain ‘break’ is always possible, that with which it breaks must necessarily bear the mark of this possibility inscribed in its structure.” (Derrida, 1988:64).

The workshop aims to discuss underwriting as a conceptual tool for the analysis of culture from a threefold perspective: as an institutional act of legitimation of emerging artistic practices; as a strategy of artistic dissent; as a practice of criticality, conflating authority and critique, affirmation and denial.

Abstracts for 20’ presentations addressing cultural practices as modes of under-writing should be sent by January 9, 2017 to

The Lisbon Consortium
A/C Diana Gonçalves
Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Palma de Cima
1649-023 Lisboa

Reading list:
Jacques Derrida , “Signature, Event, Context”, Limited Inc., Chicago: Northwestern U. Press, 1988.
Maurizio Ferraris “The Signature”, Documentality, New York: Fordham U. Press, 2012.

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VII Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture

Global Translations

Lisbon, June 26 – July 1, 2017

Deadline for submissions: January 30, 2017

Translation is a concept, and a practice, at the heart of contemporary experience. The legacies of the past, along with modern-day technology and worldviews, have allowed for, indeed have invited, the coming together of multiple identities, through various languages and a plurality of cultures. Nowadays, translation inhabits the world in new and irrevocably radical ways, and any definition of globalization – hegemonic, utopian or imaginary – must involve translation.

Etymologically meaning ‘the activity of carrying across’ (Tymockzo, 1999: 20), translation may be the actual epitome of the global world, particularly if one accepts the broadest definition of ‘globalization’, i.e., that ‘“globalization” refers to the processes by which more people across large distances become connected in more and different ways’ (Lechner and Boli, 2012: 1) – a ‘global village’ needs translation, and translation is, of course, never innocent, as linguistic translation can help imposing hegemony or promoting resistance. Thus, translation, or the rejection of it, has been used as a political tool in every meeting of others, be it in the colonial past or in the post-colonial or neo-colonial present.

Translation has always meant, to a greater or smaller extent, displacement, and is never a one-way process and always involves beings as well as goods-in-transit. This translatedness of people and things, either voluntary or forced, has come to change the world, in practical as well as conceptual terms. The 21st century may well prove to be the age of migration, with millions – of people, goods, ideas, dollars – getting translated every day. These are Appadurai’s ‘objects in motion’ (2001) in ‘a world in flows’ (1996). Reinforced by long-distance technology (media, transports, etc.) and overreaching hegemonies, translation becomes a metaphor for modern-day experience, and a practical and a conceptual tool to better negotiate the world around.

To understand how cultural phenomena are affected and shaped by translation is, therefore, a task for culture studies, as the recent ‘translation turn’ may attest (Bassnett, 1990; Bachmann-Medick, 2009). This turn in culture studies testifies to the crucial impact of ‘difference’ – be it in the sense of Paul Gilroy’s convivial cosmopolitan worldview (2004) or the rather more pessimistic take of Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘liquidity’ (1998, 2011) or of Appiah’s interrogative musings (2006) – has on the imaginings of culture, on cultural performativity, on the ability to negotiate meanings, values, beliefs and practices and potentially raising what be called ‘cosmopolitan empathy’ (Beck, 2006). ‘Cosmopolitanization’ as a process which ‘comprises the development of multiple loyalties as well as the increase in the diverse transnational forms of life’ (Beck, 2006: 9) must be inhabited by translation in a radically intimate way – a translation that is both an act of love and disruption, and that begins at home with oneself. As Emily Apter put it, ‘[c]ast as an act of love, and an act of disruption, translation becomes a means of repositioning the subject in the world and in history; a means of rendering self-knowledge foreign to itself; a way of denaturalizing citizens, taking them out of the comfort zone of national space, daily ritual, and pre-given domestic arrangements’ (2006: 6). Seen as such, every form of translation begins with self-translation.
The Summer School invites proposals by doctoral students and post-docs that address, though may not be not be strictly limited to, the topics below:

• The globalization of art and art markets
• The monolingualization of economics and economic practices
• Migration as translation
• Cultural mediation and negotiation
• Fear and the absence of translation
• The invention of the ‘other’ in and through translation
• Translating ideas, methods, policies across the world
• (Un)Translatability and the rise of demotic media and politics
• (Translated) Identities in the global world
• Nationalism and the global village
• Self-translation and critical thinking in the global world
• Cosmopolitanism, cosmopolitanization, and globalization

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Michael Cronin (Dublin City University)
  • Sandra Bermann (Princeton University)
  • Alexandra Lopes (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
  • Uwe Wirth (Justus-Liebig University)
  • Rui Carvalho Homem (Universidade do Porto)
  • Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University)
  • Aamir Mufti (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Hanif Kureishi (British writer and filmmaker)

Master Classes

  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes (University of Warwick)
  • Knut Ove Eliassen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
  • Adriana Martins (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

The Summer School will take place at several cultural institutions in Lisbon and will gather outstanding doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. In the morning there will be lectures and master classes by invited keynote speakers. In the afternoon there will be paper presentations by doctoral students.

Paper proposals
Proposals should be sent to no later than January 30, 2017 and include paper title, abstract in English (200 words), name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning ongoing research.
Applicants will be informed of the result of their submissions by Feb. 19, 2017.

Rules for presentation
The organizing committee shall place presenters in small groups according to the research focus of their papers. They are advised to stay in these groups for the duration of the Summer School, so a structured exchange of ideas may be developed to its full potential.

Full papers submission
Presenters are required to send in full papers by May 30, 2017.

The papers will then be circulated amongst the members of each research group and in the slot allotted to each participant (30’), only 10’ may be used for a brief summary of the research piece. The Summer School is a place of networked exchange of ideas and organizers wish to have as much time as possible for a structured discussion between participants. Ideally, in each slot, 10’ will be used for presentation, and 20’ for discussion.

Registration fees
Participants with paper – 265€ for the entire week (includes lectures, master classes, doctoral sessions, lunches and closing dinner)
Participants without paper – €50 per session/day | 165€ for the entire week (lectures and master classes only)

Fee exemptions
For The Lisbon Consortium students, the students from Universities affiliated with the European Summer School in Cultural Studies and members of the Excellence Network in Cultural Studies there is no registration fee.

Organizing Committee
• Isabel Capeloa Gil
• Peter Hanenberg
• Alexandra Lopes
• Paulo de Campos Pinto
• Diana Gonçalves
• Clara Caldeira

The Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture is an annual meeting organized by the Lisbon Consortium, a collaborative research network between the Master and PhD programs in Culture Studies at Universidade Católica Portuguesa and the main cultural institutions in Lisbon.

The MA in Culture Studies is ranked no. 3 in the world by the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking in Arts Management.

For further information, please contact us through or Find us online at

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Call for Articles – Diffractions: Graduate Journal for Study of Culture

Issue 7: Black Matters

Deadline for articles: May 30 2016

I am a blackstar, the statement by David Bowie (1947-2016) in his latest and ultimate album, which bids farewell to one of the greatest performers of our time, lends itself as a pretext to pay tribute to his legacy and to herald the aim of this issue to address the productivity of black – as colour, word and idea – within the cultural. In Blackstar, Bowie couples the dark imagery of a burial with a celebratory resonance which suggests the ambiguous significance of black across cultures, times and languages. Reestablished by artists in the exhibition Black is a colour, held in Paris in 1946, after its exclusion from the realm of colours following Newton’s scientific analysis of the visible spectrum, black has been continuously acknowledged as a central category in cultural discourse. Within the complex relationship between colours, black has always spawned a wide range of social meanings. This singularity within the chromatic spectrum calls for a reflection that crosses different concerns, from race to aesthetics, the politics of visibility and the manifold dimensions of cultural production. From black books to black clothes and black paintings, from black flags to black days, from black holes to black carbon and black boxes, black reflects the plurality of cultural artefacts, events and issues, social codes and political subjectivities, thus conveying the complexity of contemporary culture this issue aims to engage with.

For instance, its currency within debates about race is in many ways tied with the emergence of post-colonial discourses and their revision of modernity’s legacies. Nicholas Mirzoeff (2016) has recently referred to the “geological color line” to address the implications of racialization within the context of the Anthropocene, of that which comes to matter as human life. Black also informs the notion of “necropolitics” (Mbembe, 2003), a form of biopolitical governmentality in which the technologies of control through which life is managed increasingly coexist with technologies of destruction. Black also saturates the imagination of petrocapitalism and “oil cultures”, informing visions of both abundance and environmental disaster (Barrett, Worden, and Stoekl, 2014). Furthermore, its instantiations in popular and visual culture, such as the phenomena around black cool (Walker, 2012) or “the trouble with post-blackness” (Baker and Simons, 2015), articulate the theoretical, artistic and mediatic perspectives that both struggle and deal with the symbolic meaning(s) of blackness. As Michelle M. Wright argues, “the myriad ways in which blackness is sold is dizzying”, insofar as it works as a social, cultural and political currency that “helps to sell jazz, pop, hip hop, a variety of professional sports, Barack Obama […]” (Wright, 2015: 1). Black is also a signifier of invisibility, of erasure from the visual field (as in “black ops”), but also of hyper-visibility, of that which is othered, queered, and made visible through negative lenses. On the other hand, black can emerge as a provocative difference, a productive irritation to (white) normativity, and as a driver of critical approaches to knowledge production, as the creolization of theory advocated by Lionnet and Shih (2011). The idea of black has also been recurrent in artistic production, serving as label to distinguish genres and categories, such as Black Metal and noir aesthetics. The very proliferation of genres such as neo-noir seems to suggest the persistence and renewal of black aesthetic codes across time, proving the continued relevance of black to address the present.

At a global moment shaped by a wide array of exchanges across cultures, how does black sustain its singularity among colours? Has black (and blackness) gained (or lost) ground in theoretical discourse and cultural production? Does black (still) matter?

  • Black across languages and cultures
  • Black in visual arts, music and literature
  • Black and blackness in popular culture
  • (post-)Blackness, race and the politics of representation
  • Race, necropolitics and the Anthropocene
  • Black lives, (social) media and cultural mourning
  • Oil cultures, extraction and capitalism
  • Noir and neo-noir aesthetics
  • Gender and intersectionality
  • Dark mythologies and narratives across times
  • The cultural imaginary of string theory
  • Black flags, black books and black days
  • Black in ritual cultures and social codes (mourning, dress codes, etc.)
  • Black boxing, visibility and surveillance.

We look forward to receiving full articles of no more than 7000 words (not including bibliography) by May 30 2016 to the e-mail

Diffractions welcomes articles in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Please follow the journal’s house style and submission guidelines at

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The Culture@Work network invites applications for the workshop

| Circulating Critical Practices  |


Barcelona, April 24-25, 2015

Deadline for applications: March 23, 2015

The first workshop organised by the Culture@Work network in Copenhagen identified a substantial background of critical practices. An entire range of activities loosely connected around academic, cultural and political platforms emerge as a powerful thread that challenges the actual institutional map. A new division of labor appears as a consequence of these transformations leading to an increasing circulation of critical practices. Beyond established university departments and cultural institutions, nowadays research demands an innovative model of organization that should be able to exploit collective and heterogeneous agents. Although most of these cross-disciplinary initiatives have been contemplated as being strategic and transitional, they deserve closer examination before they wither away or else get inscribed as new wings of old institutions.

This second workshop will focus on the mutating nature of critical practices in as much as they traverse institutions of all kinds as well as non-institutional spaces. The questions arising will tackle the paradoxes that riddle the economy of these practices –sometimes considered marginal and experimental– as they become integrated in the neoliberal framework. Their rapid assimilation raises doubts as to whether alternative and critical positions can be maintained at all. Is there any chance to expect an antagonistic structure in the sphere of cultural production? Location, temporality and genealogy are to be considered key features of those practices which are contingently referred as research, teaching, curating, activism and more generally speaking, outputs of the creative class. Thus, there is an urgent demand to identify the different forms of knowledge and capital that flow productively, simultaneously creating alliances and interrupting mutual instrumentalisation.

Special emphasis goes to the contextual analysis of cultural policies that more and more are left out of the state administration. In a changing scenario critical practices risk to be dissolved among the vast number of autonomous initiatives of the cultural field. At this particular moment we welcome reports and diagnoses on these transformative trends informed by cultural agents coming from different perspectives. We are interested in contributions either coming from the core of the creative process or from the mediating sphere in any of the disciplines. And we would like to take into account that the two venues chosen to host this conference, the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona MACBA and the Universitat de Barcelona UB, invite to consider the affective dimension that brings together institutions of all sizes and colors as well as cultural agents operating in a wide range of fields.


The conference is the second of two gatherings organised by the Culture@Work network, a joint European project aimed at gauging how contemporary culture is put to work in new contexts. The network is founded by the School of Human Sciences at the Catholic University of Portugal (The Lisbon Consortium) in collaboration with the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Barcelona workshop is co-organized by MACBA and Universitat de Barcelona (UB) Art, Globalization, Interculturality / AGI Research group


The conference will feature public lectures and presentations by Maria Lind (Stockholm), Eyal Weizman (London), and Nanna Bonde Thylstrup (Copenhagen).

Program subject to changes.

On the second day of the conference, a number of parallel working groups will be organised on the backdrop of the input provided by the submitted proposals from the participants. The group sessions will be based on presentations and discussions, but will also involve an aspect of production, as the groups will present their findings in a final plenary discussion, paving way for a concluding debate.

Participants are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute contributions to the working groups on the second day of the conference. In addition to the traditional academic paper format, we welcome performative work, presentation of relevant material for discussion, screenings, etc. Please include a 300 word abstract of your contribution and a short description of your work when applying.

Submission deadline is March 23, 2015. For submissions and queries, send an email to

There will be a limited number of EU sponsored grants for travel and accommodation costs for participants from the partner institutions, please indicate if you will also apply for the grant.

The workshop is co-funded by the Culture programme of the European Union.

For more information on the conference in Barcelona visit and

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Call for Articles

Diffractions – Graduate Journal for the Study of Culture

Issue 5 | Urban Imaginaries

Deadline for article submissions: April 30 2015

As James Donald put it long ago, “there is no such thing as a city”. As a complex product of both material and imaginary forces, cities are plural entities at the intersection of geographically and historically specific institutions, governmental intervention, global market relations, political participation and creative transgression. In this constitutive diversity, Donald argued, the city “is above all a representation”. Indeed, the city is continuously made and remade through acts of imagination, grounded as much in the materiality of physical space as in the historically constituted ideas about urban life. In the vein of Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”, cities, as nations, can be conceived as spaces imagined into existence through multiple forms of representations and collective interactions.

Cities have become, more than ever, an outlet of often clashing social energies, where internal tensions and translocal connections intersect to shape but also contest the way urban life is configured and experienced. The popularity of the term “glocalization” – “the simultaneity – the co-presence – of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies” (Robertson, 1992) – suggests that global fluxes have led both to globalizing impulses and to multiple reactions against cultural uniformity through the “production of locality” (Appadurai, 1996). As social spaces where contradictory impulses coexist, cities are the site of political, legal and economic regulation, but also of creativity and dissenting practices.

Several authors have proposed the term “new metropolitanism” (Lenz et al. 2006) as a new concept to account for urban agency with regard to the material, cultural, social, and political processes that inform daily practices in a metropolitan setting. Drawing a divide between the history of modern metropolis – thoroughly scrutinized by the likes of Walter Benjamin and Georg Simmel – and contemporary world cities, the term “new metropolitanism” pays attention to the reorganization of present-day urban spaces, driven by cosmopolitan ideals, multicultural imaginaries, global economic transformations, political participation and creative vitality. At the same time, the term can be an analytic resource to tackle the conflicting forces at play in contemporary cities, seen as sites of emancipatory fantasies and associative imagination, but also of control, coercion and exclusion.

Rather than unified forms then, cities are heterogenous spaces where “urban cultures of difference” (ibid, 19) come into contact, where conflict and struggle constitute experience and drive change (Brantz et al, 2014). This issue wishes therefore to examine the ways in which cultural and political imagination have shaped and contested the configuration and experience of historical and present-day urban space.

Topics may included but are not restricted to the following:

– Metropolitanism and urban cultures of difference

– Globalization, translocality and placemaking

– Austerity urbanism and post-industrial cities

– Dynamics of creativity and gentrification

– The right to the city: Urban citizenship and participatory culture

– Boundaries, centres and peripheries

– Ghost cities

– Cities and colonial imagination

– Experiencing the city: tourism and authenticity

– City branding

– Entrepreneurial and smart cities

– Surveillance and Public Space

– Cities as affective spaces

– Urban imagination in literature and the arts

We look forward to receiving full articles of no more than 20 A4 pages (not including bibliography) and a short bio of about 150 words by April 30 2015 at the following address:

Diffractions welcomes articles written in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Please follow the journal’s submission guidelines at
DIFFRACTIONS also accepts book reviews that may not be related to the issue’s topic. If you wish to write a book review, please contact us at

Find us online at

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9th International Colloquium on Translation Studies in Portugal
CECC|FCH – Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon

22 – 23 October 2015

Deadline for submissions: February 15, 2015

‘Like all people, we perceive the version of reality that our culture communicates. Like others having or living in more than one culture, we get multiple, often opposing messages. The coming together of two self-consistent but habitually incomparable frames of reference causes un choque, a cultural collision’ (Anzaldúa, 1987: 78). The 2nd half of the 20th century has been shaped by movement – literally physical movement but also intellectual and imaginative mobility. As the age of ‘the post’ (post-structuralism, post-modernism, post-colonialism, post-feminism, post-humanism, etc.), the last 60-70 years have been a space of resisting and/or questioning traditional values and age-old certainties, of radical (r)evolutions in science, technology, politics and finance, of utopias, disillusionment and the (re)emergence of authoritarianism and an us-versus-them mentality.

As a powerful – albeit often non-assuming – platform for innovation and transformation, translation has shaped the world we live in in more ways than we are probably aware of. This two-day conference wishes to address how translation as the ‘circulatory system’ (Sontag, 2007) of ideas, discourses, models, texts, aesthetic forms is/may be inhabited by the hidden, and at times unacknowledged, urge for border-crossing and (r)evolution.

The essential elsewhereness of translation, which, at least to some extent, always straddles two (or more) languages, cultures and worldviews, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, the movement towards others that translation always embodies – even when it attempts to erase and/or silence otherness –, the negotiations, tensions and fears that translating involves may imply that all translators are (metaphorically) border-dwellers, attempting to smuggle ideas, formats, possibilities. Therefore, the study of translation may uncover unsuspected territories of resistance to the status quo, as well as of rebellion against the silences, the forgetfulness, the dominant discourses and practices of the present, i.e., a gesture towards the future.

Papers on the following areas are welcome:

  • translation, canon, and counternarratives
  • translation and protest
  • (mis)translation as a political act
  • social/political/economic/aesthetic changes and translation
  • translation and violence (colonial, civil wars, terrorism, censorship, etc.)
  • translation and women’s liberation
  • translation in the media
  • translation and decolonization/neocolonization
  • autobiography, witness bearing and translation
  • translation goes to university
  • translation, science and technology
  • the economics of translation in the global world

Papers on other topics are also welcome.

Keynote speakers:

  • Teresa Seruya (University of Lisbon / CECC)
  • Esperanza Bielsa (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The conference languages are English and Portuguese. Speakers should prepare for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) by 15 February 2015.

Proposals should list the paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection will take place by 30 April 2015.


Early bird (by May 30th):

Participants – 75€

Students (ID required) — 50€

After May 30th but no later than July 31st:

Participants – 100€

Students (ID required) – 80€

The registration fee includes coffee breaks on the two days of the conference and conference documentation.

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Call for Articles

The Aesthetics and Politics of Irony (Book Publication)


Editors: Elsa Alves (University of Copenhagen / CECC)

       Ana Dinger (CECC, Catholic University of Portugal)

Following on from the 4th Graduate Conference in Culture Studies, Irony: framing (post)modernity, held in January 2014 at the Catholic University of Portugal, we would like to prompt a reflection on the problem of irony in modern and contemporary culture.

After the tragedy of 9/11 in the West and the crisis of socialism in the East, the overriding ironic tone that had pervaded the 80s and 90s has begun to withdraw from the aesthetic and socio-political scenes. The last decades have witnessed an increasing celebration of affects and emotions, a return of authenticity and the real, and the birth of a “new sincerity”. This backlash against ironic alienation or “cynical reason” hopes to replace playfulness, shallowness and negativity for an ethos of commitment, sensitivity and integrity. Nevertheless, these attempts could easily turn out to be rhetorical or ironic.

The present book seeks to address, on one hand, the impulse of and the resistance to irony in today’s artistic, cultural and political discourses and practices. On the other hand, given that ironic attitudes and expressions in late modernity are anticipated in German idealism, constituting as such a Romantic possibility, we welcome reflections on modern irony at large.

Some of the key questions we wish to tackle are: how does irony become political? Can it build a community? How does it affirm the subject (e.g. in post-structuralism)? How does it provide a model of opposition to the status quo or, instead, how does it neutralize critique? How does it become an aesthetic principle and what are the strategies that this entails or, instead, how does it perform deaestheticisation? What kind of relation can the ironic and the tragic have? Are there historical moments that can be nominated ironic (e.g. post-modernity)? What are the post-ironic alternatives?

In this volume, Michele Cometa (University of Palermo) will address the theory of irony in Schlegel and Paul de Man, and its potential for culture analysis, Jorge Fazenda Lourenço (Catholic University of Portugal) will analyse irony’s political overtones in Jorge de Sena’s poetry and Philip Auslander (Georgia Institute of Technology) will discuss irony in the performative arts.

We invite contributions to be sent to the editors, Elsa Alves & Ana Dinger (, until the 1st of March 2015.

Submissions guideline:

Authors are encouraged to write an article specifically for the volume. However, it is also possible to draw on already published work, adapting this to address the volume theme.

Articles need to be written in English and language editing is the responsibility of the authors.

The texts will be submitted to blind peer-review and selected according to their relevance regarding the goals set out for the volume, originality of scope and theoretical framing.

Articles will need to be max. 20 pages in length, Times New Roman 12, including bibliography.

Please attach a short bio-bibliographical text (c. 150 words).

Deadline for submissions is 1st of March 2015. The organizers will return their decision by the end of April 2015.

For further information: