OPEN CALLS

Lisbon, 11-12 October 2018
Deadline for submissions: 9 March 2018

Throughout history, but particularly from the 1800s onwards, translation has played a pivotal, though often silent, role in the increasingly pressing goal of promoting literacy and the ideal of ‘universal education’. In the 19th and early 20th centuries serialized translations in newspapers, as well as inexpensive collections of translated works were often used both as a means of educating the masses and of increasing sales. Thus, translation has been instrumental in both the rise in literacy and the growth of capitalism. Resorting to translation was often an ambiguous means, both progressive and conservative in nature, of enhancing literacy, on the one hand, and of producing and disseminating pulp literature among the uneducated masses on the other, thus actively seeking to preserve the status quo in the fast-changing world of industrialization.

It could be argued that translation and literacy have always shared a common goal: that of striving to acquaint with unfamiliarity and difference, with a surplus of meaning and information, of molding citizens out of subjects by providing them with the ability to make informed choices in religion, politics, and culture are concerned, and, thereby, to expand their worldview, making it broader and more inclusive.

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Cyber+Cipher+Culture
Lisbon, July 2-7, 2018

Deadline for submissions: 28 February 2018

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.

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Feminist Ghosts: The New Cultural Life of Feminism
Deadline for submissions: November 30, 2015

Over the last two decades, feminist scholarship has consistently drawn attention to the “post-feminist sensibility” (Gill, 2007) overtaking cultural imagination, wherein feminism is only alluded to “in order that it can be understood as having passed away” (McRobbie, 2011). Deemed responsible for disavowing feminist politics and for encouraging a disidentification with feminist struggles on the part of (younger) women, this postfeminist turn shifted attention to individual success, financial satisfaction and heterosexual realization, ousting the plurality of feminist subjectivities.

Recently, however, feminism seems to have reentered the sphere of public awareness, both in political discourse and popular culture. As McRobbie put it, “in endless conjuring up a demon that must be extinguished (in this case feminism), that demon demonstrates something of its lingering afterlife and its ghostly power” (2011: 183). Phenomena such as Beyoncé’s appropriation of Chimamanda Adichie’s talk “We Should All be Feminists”; Emma Watson’s speech at the UN Women HeforShe campaign launch, in which she urged men to stand up for women’s rights; several Hollywood actresses coming forward to denounce the gender pay gap and other inequalities in the film business; Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In on the work-family balance; the controversial success of Lena Dunham’s Girls on HBO, among many other instances, have not only contributed to a renewed visibility of feminism in social life, but also to bring forth the new contradictions and challenges (radical) feminism is facing today.

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