CFP - International Congress 'The epoch of space. State and new perspectives'
by Manuel Magan
International Congress 'The epoch of space. State and new perspectives'
Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain. 8-9 April 2019
For centuries, the study of time was one of the main academic interests in
the field of Humanities. However, in the second half of the 20thcentury, most
scholars and philosophers shifted their focus to the question of space. This,
termed “spatial turn” by Soja in 1989, encouraged the foundation of new
approaches and perspectives whose main goal was to elucidate the
“spatiality” (Tally, 2013) of beings as a result of their interaction
with their physical surroundings.
Even though this new “era of space” was explicitly acknowledged and
labelled as such (“l’époque de l’espace”) by Foucault in 1967,
Gaston Bachelard’s /La Poétique de l’espace/, published in 1958, proved
to be a turning point in the development of this perspective. In this work,
Bachelard explores the experiences that result from human interactions with
architecture through what the author termed “topoanalysis”: a method that
uses psychology as a research tool for the study of the spaces and places
that we inhabit.
The interest in studying this in the field of the arts has increased
significantly in recent years, and is especially noticeable in the case of
literary creations. Scholars today –particularly comparatists– are paying
more attention to the rediscovered relevance and symbolic value of the
geographic connections present in literary works. Likewise, the links between
human beings and their physical surroundings stand out as a significant
matter of study in the field. They have, indeed, been approached from a
variety of perspectives, such as Ecologism and Marxism, mainly via the
analysis of cultural creations and the impact of human communities in the
The popularity of this kind of approaches has varied throughout history, and
not all disciplines have been equally receptive to the notions underpinning
them. While Ecocriticism and Geocriticism are well respected and established
in literary studies, research fields like those of medieval studies, history,
history of art, and classical studies seem to be rather detached from these
The growing influence of Ecocriticism and Geocriticism is especially
noticeable in digital humanities. The bridges recently built between these
fields are already proving to be productive, as they have led to the
development of new tools, approaches, and methodologies, such as deep mapping
techniques and the spatial humanities. In the same way, the technical
progress encouraged by the advancement of the internet and computer science
has fostered the emergence of new habitats that suggest the need for a
reinterpretation of the Bachelardian theories and the way we construct our
identities in space.
Soja, Rueckert, Foucault and Bachelard’s iconic works will be 30, 40, 50,
and 60 years old in 2018 and 2019. The time seems to be just right for
reflecting on our task as researchers in the Era of Space – how have the
disciplines evolved in recent years? Do we need to redefine the key concepts
regarding space and place? Has our relationship with territory changed? Have
we produced new ways of inhabiting space? It is our opinion that not only we
need to rethink our answers to these questions, maybe even articulate new
ones, but also we believe it necessarily needs to be done from the
unavoidable perspective of the place from which we call on you: Galiza.
Among the guest speakers will be Robert T. Tally Jr. (Texas State
University), Marilar Aleixandre (USC), Federico López Silvestre (USC) and
the members of the project Eco-Fictions. Nevertheless, other scholars will be
.... Call for papers
Proposals must include an abstract of 250-300 words and a brief biographical
note, and should be linked to the research line that relates to your subject
the most. Your proposal will then be reviewed by the scientific committee.
Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Every intervention will be
followed by a Q&A session. Accepted languages include Galiza, Portuguese,
Spanish, Catalan and English.
*Deadline: 1 December 2018*.
We are looking for presentations which, from different disciplines or
perspectives, approach the question of space. Below you will find a number of
suggested topics and a recommended bibliography (these are non-exclusive, and
you might suggest other related topics):
* Reviews or contemporary readings of consolidated works or authors, like
Gaston Bachelard or Edward Soja.
* Reflections on the current state of research perspectives, such as
Ecocriticism or Geocriticism.
* Space and new technologies: how the digital humanities have influenced
research methodologies (spatial humanities or digital environmental
humanities), virtual reality, new habitats, etc.
* The reception of the spatial turn beyond literary studies: theoretical
perspectives or analyses related with history of art, anthropology,
architecture or philosophy.
* 'Diachronic' readings: space in other time periods or cultures, such as
Antiquity or Middle Ages.
* Non-anthropocentric conceptions: bodyless spaces, animality or sacred
* The relations between human beings and the territory.
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