X Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture

ECOCULTURE

Lisbon, June 29 – July 4, 2020

Deadline for submissions: February 20, 2020

Recent years have been marked by an alarming escalation of environmental crises, turning climate change, pollution, the depletion of natural resources and mass extinction into some of the most urgent concerns of contemporary society. The X Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture, under the topic “Ecoculture”, intends to reflect on the interrelation between culture and the environment, to examine the growing awareness of the negative impact of human activities and to discuss the necessity to rethink, reconceptualize and redefine the relationship between humans and the non-human world.  

The term environment inspires varied meanings and interpretations. Going back to its French roots, environ, the environment is, essentially, what surrounds us. It is usually associated with external physical conditions in which a living organism exists and develops, thus explaining its common usage as synonymous to nature, i.e. something not human and that can be affected by human activity. With this narrow conception of environment, dichotomic assumptions such as man v. environment, culture v. nature, civilization v. wilderness, where one is more valued than the other, multiply. Given its etymology, the term environment hints at a separation between humans and the milieus in which they move, hence spurring the idea of the environment as an entity that exists ‘out there’ and independent of humans, as a place one observes from afar or seeks as refuge. Many scholars have, nonetheless, brought attention to the sense of continuity and interdependence between man and the environment, claiming that the idea of nature necessarily implies the idea of man. Others have also underlined its transcendental essence, the fact that it involves practices and processes, with and without man, that far exceed man’s comprehension.

The environmental movement emerged in the 1960s, largely influenced by Rachel Carson’s  seminal work  Silent Spring, which critically analyzed the dangers of the misuse of technology and the risks inherent to humans’ ability to change entire ecosystems. The discussion over environmental issues has expanded enormously since then, not only encompassing questions related to natural phenomena and the interconnectedness of all life but also addressing problems concerning the finitude of human life on the planet (or at least of the existing way of life), inequality and injustice in world structures, as well as logics of domination and oppressive frameworks. What many of these raising questions have in common is the centrality of man and man’s actions. This anthropocentric perspective, which has led to the naming of a new geological era marked by human intervention as Anthropocene, places man, unchallenged, at the center of the environment and everything that happens to it, thus reinforcing the idea of man’s supremacy over nature.

The environment and environmental issues have gained space in academy, both as a discipline and a subject relevant to other areas of knowledge; it has also become a hot topic for many artists and different forms of art (photography, painting, cinema, theater, music, among many others). This fact is corroborated by the proliferation of the ‘eco’ prefix, which has come to accompany any discussion related to environmental questions. However, the environment and the increasingly more visible environmental changes have also become the source of great social, economic and political friction. More and more movements, sustained by scientific evidence, have gained ground. Fueled by the belief that saving and bettering what Pope Francis called “Our Common Home” is not only a necessity but a duty, they aim at raising awareness, changing minds and altering behaviors. This standpoint is, nevertheless, challenged by the lack of engagement and consensus in terms of a global response, which fails to integrate ecological discourses and practices and deal with environmental problems in an efficient and speedily manner.

The Lisbon Summer School invites proposals by doctoral students and post-docs that address, though may not be strictly limited to, the topics below:

  • Nature/culture
  • Environment in/and the arts
  • Representations of environmental crises and catastrophes
  • Ecocriticism
  • The Anthropocene
  • Climate change and global warming
  • Pollution, waste and rapidification
  • Extinction of species and living systems
  • Sustainability and ecocitizenship
  • Ecopolitics
  • Ecofeminism
  • Ecojustice
  • Ecotranslation
  • Activism, ecotage, ecoterrorism
  • Landscapes, environments and ecologies
  • Urban ecology
  • Cultural ecology and human ecology
  • Human, non-human, post-human
  • Natural and built environment
  • Digital environments
  • Scientific knowledge, skepticism and manipulation

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 and post-doctoral candidates.

Paper proposals

Proposals should be sent to lxsummerschool@gmail.com no later than February 20 2020 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 20, 2020 .

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, 2020.

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 – 290€ for the entire week (includes lectures, master classes, doctoral sessions, lunches and closing dinner)

Participants without paper – 60€ per session/day | 190€ 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 60€.

Organizing Committee

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil
  • Peter Hanenberg
  • Alexandra Lopes
  • Diana Gonçalves
  • Paulo de Campos Pinto
  • Michael Baum