António Sousa Ribeiro

Graça Capinha - gcapinha@ces.uc.pt


The thematic focus of this programme covers the issues of languages, with special emphasis on silence – to better reflect on the contemporary social practices: silence as language and/or as a language; silences that selectively cease, while others remain; silence as an excess, in which the unsaid, the interdict and the unheard remains; silence of the defeated and silence of the victorious; silence as a political and social recourse, but also as an epistemological resource. In the game between language and silence, one socially constructs what we call “real”: history, literature, identities, all the social practices that we come up with in a more than ever transnationalised world.

Literature and Anglo-American Studies offer us a privileged space to observe the voices that have the power to make themselves be heard – in a world where the hegemonic power has a language, the English language, and/or an ideology turned dominant by many means (from the market to the media, to culture and the art). But paradoxically, Literature and Anglo-American Studies also allow us to observe the voice that, at the centre of that power (or at the margins, which for us are still part of that centre), did not make themselves be hegemonically heard because, even in English, their languages were different. 

Focusing on the history of culture and science, within a transdisciplinary perspective linked to a chronological framework occurring between the end of the 19th century and the present time, History approaches currents of thought, of methodological, practical reflection, cultural practices and different experiences in the field of literary production, of figurative arts and multimedia, and of mass culture. This area is also oriented towards the historical recognition and the analytical and interpretative approach of the representation processes that, in the contemporary world, aim at bringing about the formulation of models that are alternative to the mainstream models and the participation in change and rupture processes in the field of cultural initiatives, and of political projects and of scientific and technological development.

In conclusion, following this wake, Sociology observes the relation between different languages with the ability or possibility of exercising rights and duties in society, either from a political perspective – in the exercise of citizenship rights through participation and/or governance -, or from an epistemological perspective which, however, cannot cease to be social and political – in the use and force of each form of knowledge and, moreover, in the possibility, or not of seeking new forms/languages of knowledge. What languages are included, and what languages are left out of political and social negotiation? What are the hierarchies of knowledges and what are the allowed forms of participation? What are the silencings and the whys for those silencings?