Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman, and All the Intrepid Sailors

deadline for submissions: 
March 11, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
ULICES University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies

Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman, and All the Intrepid Sailors

July 3-5, 2019

School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon


Herman Melville (1819-1891), sailor and writer, plowed the ocean as a tablet to be read, gazing at the white page where unfathomable characters surface to the eyes of the puzzled reader. “Captain” Walt Whitman (1819-1892), on the other hand, writing “in cabin’d ships at sea,” broke open and passed the divide between in- and out-of-doors, as he urged his book to “speed on.” Both were born 200 years ago.


ULICES' Research Group in American Studies is pleased to announce the international conference and exhibition “Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman and All the Intrepid Sailors,” to be held on 3-5 July, 2019. We aim to foreground the international afterlife of both authors and their contribution to the interconnectedness between the arts, sciences, human philosophy and history, with a special focus on the imagination and memory of the oceans. In line with one of the group’s main axes of research, “(Re)imagining shared pasts over the sea and across borders: dialogue, reception and projections between the USA, the Americas, and Europe,” the title “Over_Seas” accommodates an eagerness to pore over the depths of wild and cultured nature(s), as well as the transatlantic and transnational dynamics that Melville, Whitman, and various writers on both sides of the Atlantic have helped to shape. In Portugal, the Atlantic will also be the subject of a special celebration in 2019, the 500th anniversary of Fernão de Magalhães’s circumnavigation voyage.


The events of our conference will take place at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon, the Portuguese National Library, and other public spaces devoted to cultural dissemination and to the promotion of the vital resources within our ocean(s).


This bicentennial celebration aims to bring together scholars with expertise not only in nineteenth-century American literature and culture, but also in areas related with the broader and interdisciplinary themes envisaged by the conference itself. Participation of junior researchers and students is especially welcome.  We invite submissions of abstracts for panel sessions (up to 1000 words), roundtables, papers and posters (up to 300 words) to be uploaded on our website, https://www.overseas2019.com/


Suggested, but by no means exclusive, topics are:

-          Dialogue and tension in Melville and Whitman: their texts as an ocean and/or vessel;

-          Home, overseas and at sea: Melville, Whitman, and/or other 19th century US writers (also in dialogue with writers overseas who addressed the sea in their writings);

-          The ocean(s) and/or sea in literature, arts and sciences;

-          The ocean(s), what goes on within, down deep, what moves across and more – wilderness, chaos, death, shipwreck, rage vs. fantasy, freedom, voyage, nourishment, commerce;

-          To and fro: Atlantic trade, finance and industry:

-          Bridging borders – translation, transatlantic (textual) commerce, Indic and Transpacific influences, literary transformation;

-          Transoceanic wave-sounds, wave-lengths, wave-motions;

-          Women across borders,  overboard, and at sea;

-          The Anthropocene, Whitman, Melville, and/or other sailor-writers – environmental sustainability / crisis and ecological protection;

-          Changes, interchanges, and dialogues across oceans, continents, peoples.


Deadline for abstracts: March 11, 2019

Notification of acceptance:  March 30, 2019


Registration fee: 160 euros general public / 80 euros students (early bird until May 5, 2019)

                              200 euros / 100 euros after May 5


Conference Directors:

Edgardo Medeiros Silva, CEAUL – FLUL / ISCSP; Margarida Vale de Gato, CEAUL-FLUL; Teresa Cid, CEAUL-FLUL


Scientific Committee:

Dana Luciano, Rutgers University

Edgardo Medeiros Silva, CEAUL – FLUL / ISCSP

Isabel Alves, CEAUL/UTAD

Isabel Oliveira Martins, FCSH – UNOVA Lisboa

Jeffrey S. Childs, Universidade Aberta

Maria Antónia Lima, Universidade de Évora

Maria Irene Ramalho dos Santos, Universidade de Coimbra

Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, Umeå University

Reinaldo F. Silva, Universidade de Aveiro

Richard King, Williams College and Mystic Seaport

Rute Beirante, CEAUL – FLUL

Susana Araújo, CEC - FLUL

Teresa Castilho, Universidade do Porto

Teresa F. A. Alves, CEAUL – FLUL


Executive Committee: Anabela Duarte, CEAUL –  FLUL; Bernardo Palmeirim, CEAUL – FLUL; Isabel Alves, CEAUL / UTAD; Cecilia Beecher Martins, CEAUL – FLUL; Jeffrey S. Childs., UAberta; Maria do Céu Marques, CEAUL/UAberta; Marta Soares, CEAUL – FLUL / ISCSP; Nuno Marques, CEAUL-FLUL / Umeå University ; Rute Beirante, CEAUL – FLUL.

Contact: melville.whitman2019@gmail.com