CfP/CfA events

Breaking Boundaries. Academia, Activism and the Arts (Lisbon, 25-26 Sept. 2019)

Abstract submission deadline
Registration deadline

The international conference Breaking Boundaries: Academia, Activism and the Arts proposes to bring into focus and critically question common grounds and boundaries between and within the Humanities, political activity and aesthetic production. Indeed, what is the role of the Humanities in our universities and in wider society today? How do - or should - they engage with other disciplines and with our contemporary political scenarios? As far-right movements gain popularity across Europe, and old and new discriminations appear legitimized by some political leaders around the world, how is it possible to challenge these from within academia? Is it still possible to separate academic work and political activism? How have the arts engaged with political activism in the past and how are they engaging with it today? Can closer interactions between artistic practices, academic work and activism support resistance to widespread political, economic and social discriminations against the various “Others” of our communities?

Intersections between different approaches to the representation and analysis of reality have been present in both artistic and academic debates throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From the Frankfurt School to the establishment of Cultural Studies, to Feminist, Postcolonial and Comparative Studies, the active role of academic production as a way of engaging with the political has evolved within the field of Humanities and the Social Sciences. Similarly, the way some artistic movements have questioned and challenged the prevailing economic and political systems, as well as the role of the art institution within them, has taken different shapes and led to new forms and theorizations.

Recently, the word artivism (art + activism) has found its way into academia and is used, for example, by Asante (2009) to describe artists who use their creative skills to fight political injustice and oppression. As McCartney reminds us, however, "although artivism is a relatively new term, the practice of art and activism has a far longer history, and may be more recognisable in particular forms of creative resistance" (McCartney, 2018: 25). The ways in which artists, scholars and activists have, throughout history and in different media, incorporated, subverted and resisted ideological and political discourses by offering new ways of looking at and experiencing reality will be the thread guiding our discussion. At the same time, we ask: what is the role of scholars and of the field of Humanities in a neoliberal context, and how might insights coming from artists’ engagement in activism and acts of resistance inform academic practice?

We welcome proposals by academics, students and independent researchers from any discipline or scholarly field, as well as by artists and activists concerned with the relationship between different art forms, political activism and the role of academia, relating to different cultural and geopolitical contexts.

In particular, proposals might address, but need not be limited to, the following subjects:

  • Challenging representations of female, male and non binary identities
  • Feminism and the neoliberal context
  • Rewriting and reframing the canon through translation
  • Feminist, Queer and Postcolonial translation
  • Representations of non-normative corporalities in the arts
  • Documentary dance, site-specific dance and participatory dance
  • Cultural agents and artistic collectives as triggers or obstacles to social change
  • Subversive practices in literary and artistic creation
  • Questioning the role and limits of the canon in literary studies
  • Narratives of migration and diaspora
  • Academic and cultural boycott as political strategies
  • Rethinking postcolonial subjects in theory and practice
  • Cultural resistance in militarized contexts

We invite proposals (max. 300 words) for a 20 minute presentation in English or Portuguese. Proposals should also include the title of the paper, proponent’s name, institutional affiliation (if any), contact details, and a brief biographical note (max. 150 words). Proposals should be sent to the following address:

The conference’s working languages will be English and Portuguese. Please note that there will not be simultaneous translation.

Important Dates:

Final Deadline for Proposal Submissions: 20/06/2019

Notification of Acceptance: 10/07/2019

Early Bird Registration Deadline: 31/07/2019

Last Day for Conference Registration: 20/08/2019

Registration Fees:

Standard Fee: € 80

Early Bird: € 65

Students Standard Fee: € 55

Students Early Bird: € 40


Works cited:

Asante, M. K. (2009). It’s Bigger than Hip-Hop. The Rise of the Post Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martins Press.

McCartney, N. (2018). Death of the Artist. Art World Dissidents and their Alternative Identities. London: I. B. Tauris.

Source of description: Information from the provider, edited

Fields of research

Feminist studies, Gender Studies/Queer Studies, Postcolonial studies, Literature and sociology, Translation
canon; identity; dance; performance; cultural agents; artistic collectives; subversive practices in literary and artistic creation; migration; diaspora; academic boycott; cultural boycott; resistance


Superordinate links



Universidade de Lisboa (ULISBOA) / University of Lisbon





Centro de Estudos Comparatistas (CEC), Universidade de Lisboa
Date of publication: 23.04.2019
Last edited: 23.04.2019