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Home seta Call for Papers seta International Conference Thresholds in Literature and the Arts

International Conference Thresholds in Literature and the Arts

Date: June 7-8, 2018
Deadline for submission of proposals: January 31, 2018
University of Lisbon School of Arts and Humanities

Portuguese version | French version

During the last century the concept of “liminality” has gained increasing attention in many disciplines, from psychology to anthropology, from philosophy to literary and cultural studies. But the state that the word defines is much older than the word itself. Suffice it to think of the myths, heroes and gods related to the katabasis and other forms of passage in ancient Greek and Latin cultures, to get a hint of the historical depth of such a concept.

From an etymological point of view, the term comes from the latin word limen – “threshold” – which shares the same root with another word, limes – “limit”, “border”, “boundary”. If, on the one hand, the spellings’ almost-identity reveals the communal idea of something (a stone or a piece of wood) placed crosswise to mark the end and/or the beginning of a space, on the other hand, the slight orthographic difference mirrors their functional and ontological differences. Indeed, if the limen signals the limit of a building or a room, its relation with the act of “passage” is clearly antithetical to the limes’s one. As Mircea Eliade pointed out (The Sacred and the Profane, Harcourt, 1987, p. 25), the threshold is the paradoxical place which connects the very two spaces it separates: under precise rules and rituals, it allows the passage and almost calls for it. The function of the limes, on the contrary, is to assure the impermeability of the two spaces.

The aim of the present international conference is to stimulate a reflection upon this third, literally ambiguous, space that defies all binary logic inside/outside (as well as above/below, before/after etc.). Given the extent of the topic, this first meeting, that will hopefully be followed by others with wider scopes, will focus on the multifarious manifestations of the “threshold” in literature and the arts.

Topics for this conference include but are not limited to:

  • Threshold concepts
  • Thresholds, space and/or time
  • Thresholds and myth
  • Threshold crossings, transgressions
  • Thresholds and identity: inclusion, exclusion, ambiguity
  • Threshold and gender
  • Threshold and racism

All paper proposals should be submitted in doc format, not later than January 31, 2018, to the following e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

They must include:

  • Name of the author
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Title of the proposal
  • Abstract (300 words)

All proposals will undergo a peer-reviewing process.

Authors of accepted papers will be notified no later than March, 1, 2018.

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Languages: English, French, Portuguese

Registration fees: 90€ (Students: 60€)


31/01/2018: Deadline

01/03/2018: Acceptance notification

15/04/2018: Registration

07-08/06/2018: Conference

Organizing committee:

Centre for Classical Studies and Centre for Comparative Studies, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon.

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