Dissent: from Walls to Breaches to Bridges of Knowledge and Resistance

deadline for submissions: 
July 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Gate(d)Ways. Enclosures, Breaches and Mobilities Across U.S. Boundaries and Beyond SDS of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Ragusa, September 26-28, 2019
contact email: 

Gate(d)Ways. Enclosures, Breaches and Mobilities Across U.S. Boundaries and Beyond SDS of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Ragusa, September 26-28, 2019

Panel: "Dissent: from Walls to Breaches to Bridges of Knowledge and Resistance"

This panel aims to investigate varieties of dissent to increasing forms of material, cultural, and political enclosures such as walls, borders, protected zones, ethnic divides, and other kinds of self-defensive constructions. The obvious, immediate reference for Americanists is, of course, the U.S.-Mexico border, while for US, Italians, Europeans, it is the European coordinated governmentality that has turned the Mediterannean sea into a giant, invisible upside-down wall that bounces off, rejects and disperses immigrants and refugees from Africa and the so called Global South.

But walls are political dreams – or nightmares – erected and undone, first of all, in the imagination. For instance, in the cultural industry, one can reflect on how institutions, ruling bodies, governments, as well as corporations, associations and local communities acquire implicit, large-scale consent (which Noam Chomsky defined ‘consent without consent’) by frequently turning citizens into audiences or crowds of either – following Lilie Chouliaraki’s definition – ‘ironic spectators,’ as well as into bodies of anomic individuals, monads whose modes of active social existence – located between the abstract domain of digital life and the concrete pressures of embodied materiality – is not easy to capture and actively mobilize by traditional means of dissent.

Against such a context, literary, cultural and political practices of dissent are here seen as strategies and tactics for opening breaches and building bridges – today as in the past – for crossing and re-crossing borders in order to make connections in artificially disconnected spaces. There are several ways of crossing divides, but building bridges – cultural and otherwise – also means fostering civic awareness and freedom and conceptualizing the means to enact active, responsible citizenship by way of argumentation and narration, by artistic and performative practices, by strategies of denunciation, documentation and disclosure, and by taking care of networks of cooperation and dissent across disciplinary, social, and material boundaries. We invite papers that discuss literature, films and other narrative forms, installations, performances, public engagement actions, disciplinary commitments and revisions in literary and cultural studies as part of critical processes that, by enabling us to understand differences in more nuanced ways and to address complex cultural phenomena from transgressive, dissenting angles, labor with us toward replacing cultural walls with bridges of/for knowledge.

Paper proposals of approximately 200-300 words should be addressed, together with a brief biographical profile to the proponents no later than July 31st, 2020 to:

cristina.iuli@uniupo.it; elena.lamberti@unibo.it