Decolonizing the Victorians-extended deadline (September 21, 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
September 21, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon
contact email: 

Decolonizing the Victorians 

School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon

October 14, 2019

Org. University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES-CEAUL), in collaboration with the Centre for Indian Studies


Keynote speakers:

Jyotsna Singh, Professor of Renaissance Literature, Michigan State University, USA

Neilesh Bose, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in History, University of Victoria, Canada


Decolonisation is always a good idea – of course – but it’s a complicated one. ‘Postcolonial studies’ implies that colonialism is definitely ‘post’. Is it? Whose colonisation of whom are we talking about? (…) The categories are infinite, the hierarchies complicated and intersecting, the project of domination ongoing. (Arundhati Roy 2017)

The recent debates surrounding the decolonization of the university (Mbembe 2016) and the dismantling of the institutional structures that sustain white power prove that postcolonial and decolonial critiques need to remain centrifugal forces in the context of the liquid, neoliberal university (Mbembe 2003; Mignolo 2007; Young 2012; Bhambra 2014; Mignolo and Walsh 2018; Bhambra et al. 2018). These debates also demonstrate that, to circumvent the limited imaginations of neoliberal institutions, fields of inquiry such as English studies have to continuously travel beyond their foundational onto-historical ethnocentrism and Anglo-American-centred theoretical frameworks (Hitchcock 2001).

Building on the discussions taking place in English departments across universities in the UK (Ranasinha 2019), this seminar aims to contribute to the debate on what might be entailed in the next step of decolonizing the English studies curriculum in a semi-peripheral English department whose locus of observation, interpretation and enunciation is located in a non-English speaking country.

With a focus on decolonizing the Victorians, proposals for papers and pre-constituted panels (with three speakers each and a chair) should engage with at least one of the following questions:

  • How does the mediating role of English as the lingua franca of western academia replicate the colonial dynamics of the nineteenth century?
  • How can the colonial dynamics of English studies be revised and reinvented outside of the Anglosphere?
  • How do we reinvent English studies in ways that do not rely on pre-existing extractive colonial patterns relating to labour, production and value, but at the same time foreground these immanent patterns?
  • In terms of praxis, how can the concerns with the imperial contexts in which English studies articulated its mission (in India, for example) be incorporated into not only the practice of criticism and theory, but also university pedagogies?

Please send proposals to Ana Cristina Mendes, Department of English Studies, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon ( The deadline for the receipt of proposals has been extended to September 21, 2019


In the case of individual papers, please submit abstracts between 200 and 300 words (references included) together with a title and 5 keywords, including name, institutional affiliation and contact details


For pre-constituted panels, the conveners are asked to submit a panel proposal including the title, a 300- to 500-word justification for the panel and 200- to 300-word abstracts (references included) for each of the three presentations making up the panel accompanied by a title and 5 keywords. Also included should be names and institutional affiliation for the three presenters and the name, institutional affiliation, contact details, and institutional affiliation for the chair.


Org. University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES-CEAUL), in collaboration with the Centre for Indian Studies