Horror Vacui: 5th Annual Graduate Conference of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese - University of Minnesota

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Department of Spanish & Portuguese - University of Minnesota
contact email: 

The graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are pleased to announce that we will be hosting our annual conference, titled ''Horror vacui: V Annual Graduate Student Conference''. The conference will take place on March 30-31, 2018 in Minneapolis. Through the Latin expression horror vacui we intend to synthesize a comprehensive Western tradition of the creation of and approach to different kinds of emptiness, be they linguistics, political, cultural, or artistic voids, whose mere existence generates anguish and, thereby, legitimizes the strategies of their occupation and suppression.

We are proud to announce the participation of the plenary speakers:

Prof. Yuri Herrera, Tulane University
Prof. Manuel Díaz-Campos, Indiana University.

Call for Papers:

The theft and sale of azulejos (tiles) from the Art Nouveau building where Fernando Pessoa lived in Lisbon between 1915 and 1916 accelerated its deterioration and subsequent demolition. Since 2007, Projeto SOS Azulejo has made an effort to combat this trend that has commodified, emptied, and distributed pieces of Lisbon, thus converting the city into a souvenir. The disappearance of the azulejos and the attempt to recover them is an example of the tension that surfaces from the urgency and anguish when considering emptiness and its ramifications. The Aristotelian adage ''nature abhors a vacuum'' also obliges man to fight it; however, the inevitability of the void in nature, a foil to modernity, challenges humankind. This is a challenge that erases certain cultures, languages, institutions, and populations and then supplants them with others.

Considering Horror vacui allows us to think through an occidental tendency that essentializes the
suppression and creation of different types of voids. A survey of these voids reaches across many
different forms: the exuberant expression of the baroque retablos (religious icons); the aesthetic
emphasis on simplicity in digital design; the total occupation of simulated territory in cyber-warfare. These are voids that, like silence in poetic rhyme and rests in music, can disrupt a continuity in order to introduce an aesthetic strategy. They also may signal pedagogical challenges in linguistic fields and social sciences--just as emptiness resides in the gap between language and content. These problematics mimic the precarious (re)assembly of the azulejos, a mosaic prompting new questions in its new configuration. Therefore, the 5th Annual Graduate Conference invites submissions from works that think through emptiness and its manifestations from a variety of different contexts; these themes include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Language Contact, Phonetics/Phonology, Sociolinguistics, First and Second Language Acquisition,
Linguistic Variation and Change, Language Policy
-Cultural Studies, Environment and Culture, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Immigration, Latino/Chicano Studies, Border Studies, Nationalism and Political Conflicts, Human Rights, Genocide Studies, Race and Identity
-Art and Aesthetics, Music and Sound Studies, Film and Image Studies, Communication Studies
-Medieval and Modern Era Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

Send abstracts of up to 250 words before February 1, 2018 through the conference website: http://calambur.weebly.com/call-for-papers-submission.html . Presentations should last 20 minutes and can be in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. For more information, please contact us at spptconfumn.edu.