Home“Espèces d’espaces” : Space as a lens of resistance-existence analysis

Home“Espèces d’espaces” : Space as a lens of resistance-existence analysis

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Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2024


The Humanities have long given priority to the analysis of time, while space has always been considered as a container, the stage upon which the destiny of humanity unfolds. Nevertheless, the relationship between these coordinates of existence has been reconsidered in recent years, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where space becomes not only an object but also a lens and perspective of analysis, opening up exploration of this and other worlds.


The Twelfth Edition of the Doctoral Conference of the Department of Literary, Linguistic, and Comparative Studies of the University of Naples L'Orientale will be held in Naples on the 12-13 december 2024. We invite to explore through an interdisciplinary lens the relationship between space and resistance, understood as an object of literary, linguistic, and cultural analysis or as an interpretative function of cultural expressions and methodological practices.


The Humanities have long given priority to the analysis of time, while space has always been considered as a container, the stage upon which the destiny of humanity unfolds. Nevertheless, the relationship between these coordinates of existence has been reconsidered in recent years (Soja 1989), particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where space becomes not only an object but also a lens and perspective of analysis, opening up exploration of this and other worlds (Westphal 2007). In an age where understanding reality seems increasingly nuanced, new interpretative perspectives of contemporary reality must consider the crucial role played by borders and boundaries - places of cultural and identity negotiation, rather than barriers - and how humanity organises and conceives the space it inhabits and imagines (Lévy 1999, Dear and Flusty 2002). In an age of perceived decolonization, the emergence of marginal authorship breaks the singularity of perspective. In this increasingly pluralistic landscape, literature and forms of art emerge that fill voids, overflow and propose alternative paradigms and resistance paradigms: "Grass exists only in the vast uncultivated spaces [...] it grows in the middle and among other things. The flower is beautiful, the cabbage is useful, the poppy drives mad. But the grass is overflow, it is a moral lesson" (Miller 1956: 48-49, Deleuze and Guattari 1980: 28-29).

Cultural Studies highlight how movement, interaction, influence, and communication in space have become extremely rapid and widespread since the late 20th century, overcoming physical, economic, and cultural boundaries that once defined places as stable and cohesive communities (Massey and Jess 2001). Today, society's structure is becoming increasingly fluid and dynamic, as individuals and groups interact through global networks of communication and cultural exchange (Bauman 2002). Globalization is changing our perception of the world, generating place-bound or placeless identities. The global-local nexus implies new relationships between space and place, immobility and mobility, real and virtual, centre, and periphery, with significant implications for individual and collective identities, as well as communities (Robins 1991).

Literature has a dual capacity in this direction. On one hand, it manifests as a cultural space that can be studied within its own sociological dynamics, tracing the behaviour of existing institutions in the literary field (Bourdieu 1992). On the other hand, it allows for the problematization of real, geographical space - as well as that of intimacy - emerging as a response to stimuli offered by historical, economic, and political issues of supranational order. The literary text thus becomes the arena for the reworking of real conflicts, the space where antagonistic ideological instances can be reconciled (Orlando 1987). Tangibly, the space of writing is the page, an open and receptive space where the convergence of different and heterogeneous systems occurs. Copyist, author, text, reader converge therein, blurring the boundaries, thereby expanding the concept of diasystem (Segre 1979). However, the page also serves as the diagram of the compositional process (Stussi 1985). In the analysis of the work, in light of its preparatory documents, rewrites, and corrections, the text is rediscovered as an object that structures itself not only in time but also in space (de Biasi 2011). The traditional hierarchy is thus reconsidered and confused: the margins - what is prior, outside, beyond the text - are brought to the centre of the analysis; what was once a complement becomes the object of information.

As for Linguistics Studies, the representation of space (Auer et al. 2014) can be investigated not only through the analysis of the theoretical evolution of the concept but also through the observation of the influence that multifaceted space has on language manifestations. The dimensions of linguistic variation - diachronic, diatopic, diaphasic, diamesic, and diastratic (Coseriu 1973, Mioni 1983, Chambers et al. 2002, Gadet 2007, Eckert 2010) - determine all the facets that the concept of space can assume: language changes intertwine and interact, reshaping the notion of space and establishing an essential relationship with it. The idea of linguistic space is associated with the concept of multilingualism and the theme of minority languages (Berruto 2009), which effectively convey the concept of linguistic resistance. Examples include the Arbëreshë, Ladin, and Franco-Provençal communities in Italy, to name a few, protected by Law No. 482/1999. The notion of spatiality also encompasses the field of language teaching: the reconsideration of educational spaces aims to ensure inclusion, access to education, full social participation, and educational success, respecting individual differences, acting against inequalities and discriminations (Gherardi 2019).

As for Theatre, space is a crucial element, it traditionally articulates the relationship between the written text and the representation (Ubersfeld 1999). In the text, space often remains implicit, yet it can be explored and understood by analysing captions and dialogues (Ryngaert 1991). In the representation, it is the very place where the actors' actions take place and simultaneously the space of the scenic action. Moreover, central is the value that artists attribute to the space they create, occupy, or appropriate. The nature of theatre itself has made it a subject of spatial analysis. Especially since the 1960s, when Julian Beck proclaimed, "the theatre belongs to the street," connections between theatre, space, and resistance, if not revolutionary, aspects have emerged strongly within and outside Europe.

Proposals may concern, but are not limited to, the following research areas:

Cultural studies

  • Heterotopias/Non-places/Isotopies/Dystopias: how the invention of imaginary spaces reverberates issues, problems, and structures of meaning of the surrounding reality.
  • Experiential space and space of action linked to the concept of lived space/espace vécu.
  • Space as a margin of political action and experiential catalyst.
  • The interaction between local and global realities in light of the transformations determined
  • by globalization.

Literature and philology

  • Space of re-emergence: how the historical, economic, and social structures of a particular era reappear in literary texts, characterizing them
  • Narratives of resistance: literary works that address themes of oppression, social injustice, and struggle for change, challenging existing boundaries and norms
  • Eco-criticism and environmental spaces: texts and studies reflecting on the relationship between space, environment, and ecological activism
  • Textual spaces: the reaffirmed centrality of writings and rewrites in the margins, between manuscript philology, authorship, and genetic criticism

Language, linguistics and translation

  • Analysis of diatopic variation (e.g. linguistic minorities in Italy and worldwide) and diastratic variation
  • Theory and practice of translation: treatment of diatopic and diastratic varieties in literary, specialized, and audiovisual translation
  • Diamesic varieties: digital spaces, new contexts, and methodologies of linguistic analysis
  • Foreign and second language teaching: crossing and overcoming boundaries and space between languages. Relationship between space design, learning/teaching modes, and inclusion

Art and theatre

  • Theatre and resistance
  • Performance studies
  • Theatre in non-European languages
  • Cross-cultural adaptations
  • Theatre and reappropriation of space

Submission guidelines

Abstracts should not exceed 400 words. Abstracts should be accompanied by a title, 3 keywords, a brief essential bibliography (max 10 titles) and a short biographical note (max 100 words).

Candidates should indicate the disciplinary area to which their proposal belongs: cultural studies; literature and philology; language, linguistics, and translation; art and theatre.

Proposals (in Italian or English) should be sent to the email address gradconf2024.unior@gmail.com in .pdf format

by 1 July 2024.

The file should be named: Surname_Name_gc24.

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Acceptance of proposals will be communicated via email by 15 September 2024.

Authors will be invited to submit their papers for publication of a selection of essays, prior approval of the Scientific Committee of the Doctoral board.

Conference languages: Italian and English.

Important dates

  • Proposal submission deadline: 1 July 2024

  • Notification of acceptance: 15 September 2024
  • Doctoral Conference: 12-13 December 2024

Scientific committee

  • Jana Altmanova: Full Professor University of Naples L'Orientale
  • Giuseppe Balirano: Full Professor University of Naples L'Orientale
  • Alberto Manco: Full Professor University of Naples L'Orientale
  • Rosa Piro: Associate Professor University of Naples L'Orientale
  • Carlo Vecce: Full Professor University of Naples L'Orientale
  • Germana Volpe: Associate Professor University of Naples L'Orientale

Organizing committee

  • Maria Castaldo
  • Angela Conzo
  • Maria De Santo
  • Antonella De Sena
  • Moana Floris
  • Barbara La Greca
  • Rita Lettieri
  • Chiara Longo
  • Alberto Scialò
  • Noor Shihadeh
  • Annette Terracciano
  • Bianca Vallarano

The members of the organizing committee are all PhD Students at the University of Naples L’Orientale, department of Literary, Linguistic and Comparative Studies.


  • Palazzo Du Mesnil - Via Chiatamone 61/62
    Naples, Italian Republic

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Monday, July 01, 2024


  • space, resistance


  • Organisation of “Espèces d'espaces” Conference
    courriel : gradconf2024 [dot] unior [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Bianca Vallarano
    courriel : b [dot] vallarano [at] unior [dot] it


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« “Espèces d’espaces” : Space as a lens of resistance-existence analysis », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/11ob7

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