Cultural Labour and Contemporary Literature in Portuguese

deadline for submissions: 
April 16, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Carlos Garrido Castellano, Ph.D. Lecturer. Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. University College Cork

Cultural Labour and Contemporary Literature in Portuguese


Online Research Seminar


8-9 July 2021




Ana de Albuquerque

University College Cork


Carlos Garrido Castellano, Ph.D.

University College Cork



This interdisciplinary seminar intends to analyse cultural labour and creative expertise in the context of contemporary literature in Portuguese. Our attempt is to critically remap the panorama of contemporary literary fiction in Portuguese under the prism of the economization of cultural creativity and the expansion of neoliberal understanding of creative subjectivity and self-realisation. As Sarah Brouillette, Wendy Brown, Rachel Greenwald Smith and many others have asserted, neoliberalism cannot be simply understood as an economic system; rather, it lies at the heart of broader processes of self-definition and affectivity. Assuming that neoliberalism still constitutes a haunting presence that becomes present in ways that are far from universal and homogeneous and that are shaped by coloniality, this online seminar attempts to expand the debates on cultural labour and literary materialisms (Nilges and Sauri 2013) beyond European and North-American contexts. The seminar also tries to reimagine issues of cultural labour and the expansion of artistic modes of self-definition from the point of view of contemporary literary production in Portuguese.

            In the context of this seminar, we also seek to problematise issues of transnational cultural circulation and reception through a lens attentive to less visible processes of precarisation, exclusion and silence affecting creative individuals. From this perspective, we aim to take into account the fact that the circulation of contemporary literature within and beyond the Portuguese-speaking world also implies a very material and tangible transformation in the way in which contemporary writers position themselves and question literature’s social role under neoliberal conditions. In focusing on the personal and material consequences of engaging with transnational literary and cultural markets, we aim to assess how do neoliberal modes of cultural circulation and production have affected the materiality of literary production in Portuguese.

            Finally, this seminar’s interest in cultural labour is intended to serve as a provocative platform through which to pay attention to two interrelated goals: to understand how contemporary literature in Portuguese interacts with other creative practices (including music, film and visual art) in order to problematise its own autonomy; and to explore the ways in which literature is being simultaneously mobilised as part of andin response to ongoing colonial oppression and the emerging wave of exclusionary politics and conservative authoritarianism.


Proposals are accepted (until the 16th of April 2021)in Portuguese and English under the form of an Abstracts (200-250 words) and a short bio (50-100 words). Suggested topics may include but are not limited to:


-       The music industry in/and contemporary literature

-       Queer affectivity and/ as contemporary literature

-       Indigenous and racialised approaches to the model of flexible creativity

-       Problematising the contemporary in Portuguese-speaking territories

-       Literary approaches to precariousness, cultural labour and social transformation

-       Literature and new and old processes exclusions and peripherality

-       Literatures in Portuguese and processes of self-definition and neoliberal impersonation

-       Decolonising authorship in the Portuguese-speaking world

-       Cultural labour and the transnational circulation of literature in Portuguese

-       Contemporary literature in Portuguese and the financialisation of cultural production

-       Cultural labour and the geopolitics of the literary system(s) in Portuguese


Participation and attendance to the seminar will be completely free.


We are working towards the preparation of a proposal for an edited book in English around the main topics of this seminar to be submitted for consideration under Palgrave’s New Comparisons in World Literature Series ( Please let us know if you would be interested in having your work considered for potential publication in the form of a book chapter.


Submissions and queries should be forwarded to and