33rd APEAA Meeting: Authority versus Alterity: The Return of Hegemony?

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Catholic University of Portugal
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Authority versus Alterity: The Return of Hegemony?
Markets are crumbling. States are (going) bankrupt. Power and politics are more and more estranged. Unemployment is rising. Social inequalities are growing. Amidst the general climate of anxiety, political discourses on culture, identity and difference are changing, in Europe as in the United States, often relegating social disparities and cultural diversity to "the status of 'collaterality' (marginality, externality, disposability, not a legitimate part of the political agenda)" (Bauman, 2011). This collaterality produces tensions and stereotypes — the reenactment of a 'no future worldview' generates an overall loss of confidence which, in turn, feeds on new exclusions and old and new (ir)rational fears.
The financial crisis is affecting every layer of society, potentially changing the 'structure of feeling' and (re)creating personal and communal narratives of inclusion and exclusion, in which "individuals are now expected to seek biographical solutions to systemic contradictions" (Beck, 1992). Against a background of market volatility, current political and cultural discourses do increasingly point to a retreat from a culture of rights to a culture of values, where we are markedly different from them. In this context, multiculturalism as a "utopia of tolerance, peace, and mutual regard" (Gilroy, 2008) appears as a dream of the past, as social, aesthetic and critical discourses follow suit, privileging new forms of authority over diversity and relativism. The return of/to philology, the resurrection of the author, the reinvention of the canon, as well as the new celebrity culture promoted in and by diverse media, all point to a yearning for absolutes that may blur and/or erase alterity.
Conversely, the protester was named person of the year 2011, in the wake of movements such as "Occupy Wall Street" or "Occupy London". Mainstream culture is growing more and more inclusive of counter-hegemonic discourses and representations. Remix culture is spreading. Collaborative research and art forms both at national and international levels are developing at a staggering pace, as new media open up possibilities of social, political and economic networks and produce new forms of knowledge. Even though it can, and often does, mean displacement and dispersion, mobility also "enables people to be connected with each other, to meet and re-meet over time and across space" (Elliot and Urry, 2010), thus creating transnational communities which forcibly foster a sense of connectedness with the diverse.
This conference wishes to address the extant crisis as a landscape of cultural and aesthetic possibilities as well as of constraints and perils: how will financial instability affect the self-image of the Western world as well as its relationship with its many others?, how will fear and anxiety determine translatability both in a literal and in a metaphorical sense?, what images and representations of identity and alterity will literature, film, tv, music produce at a time of distress and unrest?, how will the new-found desire for authority and authenticity articulate with the plurality of contemporary societies?
Papers on the following areas will be welcome:
Culture and Representation
Gender Studies
Literary Theory
Film and Other Media
Peace and War Studies

Confirmed Speakers:
Simon During, University of Queensland
João Ferreira Duarte, University of Lisbon
Ana Gabriela Macedo, University of Minho
Lawrence Venuti, Temple University Philadelphia

The conference languages are English and Portuguese.
Speakers should be prepared for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions.
Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to authorityvsalterity@gmail.com by 1 April, 2012.
Proposals should list paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection can be expected by 21 May, 2012.

Early registration (by July 1st):
Members – 75€
Non Members - 100€
Students (ID required) — 50€
Late registration (after July 1st):
Members – 90€
Non Members —120€
Students (ID required) — 60€
The registration fee includes coffee breaks on the two days of the conference and conference documentation.

Organizing Committee:
Mónica Dias
Lara Duarte
Rita Faria
Alexandra Lopes
Adriana Martins

Scientific Committee:
Mário Avelar (Open University, Lisbon)
Luísa Leal Faria (Catholic University of Portugal)
António Feijó (University of Lisbon)
João Almeida Flor (University of Lisbon)
Isabel Capeloa Gil (Catholic University of Portugal)
Maria Antónia Lima (University of Évora)
Manuel Portela (University of Coimbra)

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