30 Nov 2018 - 00:00

Thu 9 – Sat 11 May 2019, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon)


The first biennial Cultural Literacy in Europe Conference took place in London in April 2015; the second in Warsaw in 2017. We are now pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the third Biennial Conference, to be held at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon) in May 2019.

What is cultural literacy? Cultural Literacy (see is an ability to view the social and cultural phenomena that shape our lives – bodies of knowledge, fields of social action, individuals or groups, and of course cultural artefacts – as being essentially readable. It engages with interdisciplinarity, multilingualism and collaboration. It is as much about innovation and creative practice – whether scholarly, artistic or social – as it is about analysis, and it often brings these two methods together.

What is conviviality? As a series of acts of negotiation, culture is inextricably linked to the exchange of goods and ideas, cosmopolitization, hybridization and mobility (Cronin, 2002, 2010). This calls for a new brand of cosmopolitanism, one that is not ‘from above’ (Hall and Werbner, 2008), and for a convivial culture in which ‘the recognition of mutual worth, dignity and essential similarity imposes restrictions on how we can behave if we wish to act justly’ (Gilroy, 2004: 4). The project of conviviality depends on the translatability of human experience, of literacy as translation, and an ethics of heterogeneity and education, which reminds us that cultures are not homogeneous and do not sit still (Sen, 2006: 112-113). It also leads to a re-reading of the past through the lens of present-day concerns, as these often relate to ‘a post-imperial melancholia’ (Gilroy, 2004), which may translate into a need to ‘decolonise’ Europe (Sayyid and Barnor, 2006) and promote a ‘subaltern cosmopolitanism’ (Sousa Santos, 2002).

In our digital era, conviviality also extends to virtual space and social media, as these imply new literacies. The question of whether ‘we expect more from technology and less from each other’ (Turkle, 2012: 295) is a pressing one: are online forms of interaction, conversation and cultural exchange meaningful forms of convivial culture, and how are the arts and literature being (re)shaped by the new technologies?

This Conference will address modes of conviviality that cultures may have resisted, promoted or facilitated down the ages and especially in the present. It will reflect upon the role and effects of cultural literacy in different media, in the shaping of today’s politics and global economy. As a potent tool for spreading ideas and ideologies, cultural literacy helps shape world-views and social attitudes in indelible ways that need further investigation.

You are invited to submit a proposal for a 20-minute paper (or for a panel of three 20-minute papers) on any area of the conference topic. Proposals should consist of: title, an abstract (max. 300 words), a mini-biography (max 100 words), plus your name, affiliation and email address. Send this to Alexandra Lopes (mlopes[at] and Naomi Segal (n.segal[at] by the deadline of Wednesday 30 November 2018.

* Art in conflict/ conflict solving
* Art mediation, social criticism and change
* Conviviality and translation
* Conviviality in artistic practice
* Cultures of place, cultures of displacement and replacement
* Digital literacy: changes and challenges
* Memory and cultures of conviviality
* Migration, diversity and cultural literacy
* Multilingualism and power
* Reading through textuality, fictionality, rhetoricity and/or historicity
* Representations and ethics of conviviality, hospitality, cosmopolitanism

Beck, Ulrich (2006), Cosmopolitan Vision, trans. Ciaran Cronin, Cambridge and Malden: Polity.
Cronin, Michael (2002), Translation and Globalization, London and New York: Routledge.
Gilroy, Paul (2004), After Empire. Melancholia or Convivial Culture?, London & New York: Routledge.
Hall, Stuart and Pnina Werbner (2008) ‘Cosmopolitanism, Globalisation and Diaspora’, Pnina Werbner (ed.) Anthropology and the New Cosmopolitanism, Oxford: Berg, 345–60.
Sen, Amartya (2006), Identity and Violence. The Illusion of Destiny, London and New York: Penguin Books.
Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2002), Toward a New Legal Common Sense: Law, Globalization, and Emancipation, London: Butterworths LexisNexis.
Sayyid and Barnor, Hesse (2006), ‘Narrating the Postcolonial Political and the Immigrant Imaginary’, N. Ali, V.S. Kalra, S. Sayyid (eds.), A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain, London: C. Hurst & Publishers, 13-31.
Turkle, Sherry (2012), Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, New York: Basic Books.

Paul Gilroy (Kings College London), Boaventura de Sousa Santos (University of Coimbra) and Sowon Park (University of California Santa Barbara)

Early bird fee (by 1 Feb 2019)
Standard €160
Students (+ ID)/ Unwaged €100

Full fee (2 Feb – 29 March)
Standard €200
Student (+ ID)/ Unwaged €150

The registration fee includes coffee breaks, lunch, and all conference documentation.

Prior membership of CLE is required; see

We are grateful for the support of De Gruyter, see