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Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman and All the Intrepid Sailors

Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman, and All the Intrepid Sailors
July 3-5, 2019
School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon

Herman Melville (1819-1891), sailor and writer, plowed the ocean as a tablet to be read, gazing at
the white page where unfathomable characters surface to the eyes of the puzzled reader. “Captain”
Walt Whitman (1819-1892), on the other hand, writing “in cabin’d ships at sea,” broke open and
passed the divide between in- and out-of-doors, as he urged his book to “speed on.” Both were
born 200 years ago.

ULICES’ Research Group in American Studies is pleased to announce the international conference
and exhibition “Over_Seas: Melville, Whitman and All the Intrepid Sailors,” to be held on 3-5 July,
2019. We aim to foreground the international afterlife of both authors and their contribution to the
interconnectedness between the arts, sciences, human philosophy and history, with a
special focus on the imagination and memory of the oceans. In line with one of the group’s
main axes of research, “(Re)imagining shared pasts over the sea and across borders: dialogue,
reception and projections between the USA, the Americas, and Europe,” the title “Over_Seas”
accommodates an eagerness to pore over the depths of wild and cultured nature(s), as well as the
transatlantic and transnational dynamics that Melville, Whitman, and various writers on both sides
of the Atlantic have helped to shape. The events will take place at the School of Arts and
Humanities of the University of Lisbon, the Portuguese National Library, and other public spaces
devoted to cultural dissemination and to the promotion of the vital resources within our ocean(s).

This bicentennial celebration aims to bring together scholars with expertise not only in nineteenth century
American literature and culture, but also in areas related with the broader and
interdisciplinary themes envisaged by the conference itself. Participation of junior researchers and
students is especially welcome. We invite submissions of abstracts for panel sessions (up to
1000 words), roundtables, papers and posters (up to 300 words) to be sent to
melville.whitman2019@gmail.com, with the following information:

. full title of paper, panel or poster;
. full name of author;
. institutional affiliation;
. individual e-mail address(es);
. brief bio (max. 5 lines).

Suggested, but by no means exclusive, topics are:

– Dialogue and tension in Melville and Whitman: their texts as an ocean and/or vessel;

– Home, overseas and at sea: Melville, Whitman, and/or other 19th century US writers (also in
dialogue with writers overseas who addressed the sea in their writings);

– The ocean(s) and/or sea in literature, arts and sciences;

– The ocean(s), what goes on within, down deep, what moves across and more – wilderness,
chaos, death, shipwreck, rage vs. fantasy, freedom, voyage, nourishment, commerce;

– To and fro: Atlantic trade, finance and industry;

– Bridging borders – translation, transatlantic (textual) commerce, Indic and Transpacific
influences, literary transformation;

– Transoceanic wave-sounds, wave-lengths, wave-motions;

– Women across borders, overboard, and at sea;

– The Anthropocene, Whitman, Melville, and/or other sailor-writers – environmental
sustainability / crisis and ecological protection;

– Changes, interchanges, and dialogues across oceans, continents, peoples.

Deadline for abstracts: March 11, 2019
Notification of acceptance: March 30, 2019