Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal

6 and 7 December 2018

Hearing the words replacement and replaceability, one naturally wonders: Who or what is being replaced? Who is doing the replacing? What counts as replaceable? Is there a logic of replacement? What happens when bodies are deemed replaceable for other bodies? Or for machines? How does replacement communicate with other, related, concepts, such as translation, repetition, reïteration, quotation, citation, metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche, and displacement? And how does it acquire meaning in connection to other concepts like false-consciousness, workforce, precariousness, simulacrum, spectacle, and ideology? How can replacement or replaceability be made useful for the study of cultural objects? Which objects warrant their use? It is on these and related questions that we invite abstracts for presentations at our conference.


Theoretical understandings of power tend to highlight the importance of controlled reproduction of human beings, or subjects, in order for power to function. One may think of a wide-ranging number of theorists here, from Karl Marx, through Louis Althusser, and on to Michel Foucault. In the study of bureaucratic modes of power exertion, documents can function as the irreplaceable expression of an identity or a right, as in the cases of identity cards, passports, and diplomas.

In translation studies, the notion of translation as a specific act of replacement is of central concern. In media theory and the study of visual culture the notion of representation can be understood as a moment in which the image replaces the ‘original.’ In literary studies, concepts such as metaphor and metonymy are examples of replacing one word for another, a procedure considered essential to the production of meaning through language.

In Lacanian psychoanalysis, the mirror-stage functions as a scene in which the physical body is temporarily replaced by an imaginary double. Feminist- and queer theorists have often critiqued heterosexist and heteronormative approaches to otherness as failed, or attempted copies of heterosexual male life. In posthumanist discourses, the very notion of the human undergoes a moment of replacement by some kind of being that is no longer fully human and all too often celebrated as beyond the human in a teleological way. And post- and de-colonial theorists have read colonial activities of ‘Western powers’ as forced replacements of one culture for another.


We invite proposals for contributions in the form of 20 minute presentations in which replacement or replaceability are used either as concepts of analysis, put into dialogue with a cultural object, or in which the concepts themselves come under theoretical scrutiny. Proposals should be no longer than 250 words and have to be sent to no later than June 15th 2018 June 30th 2018. Your abstract will be peer reviewed and you will receive notification of acceptance as soon as possible thereafter but no later than the end of July 2018. Upon acceptance you will be requested to register and provide some personal details to finalize your registration.

The conference will be a two day event taking place at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. It is scheduled to take place on the 6th and 7th of December 2018. This website will be updated regularly to keep you posted about any additional information.

Registration fee: € 50,00 (this includes lunch, coffee breaks and conference materials).

For The Lisbon Consortium students and members of CECC, there is no registration fee.

To see this call for papers as a .pdf file, click here.

Ideas for proposals

– Replacement, technology and labor.

– Replacement and the body.

– Replacement and disability.

– Replacement and the queer body.

– Replacement and colonialism.

– Replacement and representation.

– Replacement and translation.

– Replacement and biopower.

– Replacement and the digital.

– Replacement by AI.

– Replacement and recognition.

– Replacement and knowledge production.

– Replacement and simulacrum.

– Replacement and death.

– Replacement and the archive.

– Replacement and documentation.



Naomi Segal | Visiting Professor in French & German Studies, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom. She has recently edited and contributed to a book titled On Replacement: Cultural, Social and Psychological Representations, which was published by palgrave macmillan in 2018.

Naomi Segal will give a talk titled: What is Replacement?

Nanna Bonde Thylstrup | Assistant Professor, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. Her upcoming book is titled The Politics of Mass Digitization, and will appear with MIT Press in november 2018.

Nanna Thylstrup will give a talk titled: Mass digitization and the politics of replacement.

Niall Martin | Assistant Professor, Department of Literary and Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He recently published a book titled Iain Sinclair: Noise, Neoliberalism and the Matter of London, Bloomsbury, 2015.

Niall Martin will give a talk titled: Ir/replaceability, Il/literacy and the Decolonization of the Alphabet.

Diana Gonçalves | Assistant Professor, Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal. She recently published a book titled 9/11: Culture, Catastrophe and the Critique of Singularity, De Gruyter, 2016.

Diana Gonçalves will give a talk titled: On Singularity and Replaceability.