What we propose to discuss in an international and interdisciplinary gathering of researchers of different areas of knowledge, with Cultural Studies as a starting point, is a look at the History of living societies through a new perspective, from what we call culture(s) in negative.

The main intent of the organization of this congress consists in promoting the systematic study of all the currents and discourses centred in a negative perception of the “Other” (e.g. anti-Semitism, anti-clericalism, anti-Britishness) from throughout Portuguese History, but also in its relation with European History and other cultural and civilisational world views. Using the metaphor of a photographic negative, we intend to critically approach and characterize the different forms of cultural production we can frame within the concept of negative culture.

Actually, the History of Portuguese and European culture and mindset was and continues to be marked by ideological and social conflicts which have generated long-winded confrontational dynamics between sociocultural groups, ethnicities, religions, genders and classes. Fostered by a more or less intensive propaganda, opposing movements and groups across History have tried to demonise the “Other”, meaning to turn the adversary they wanted to fight or even obliterate the quintessential enemy of the good of the nation, of social progress and of the liberation of a particular threat that weighed on the community of citizens. This confrontation, ensuing from the difficulty of welcoming and accepting the “Other” in its different worldview, ways of living, beliefs and thoughts, has generated relevant fractures in society and in the culture of our country, some of which are fundamental in order to understand the drifts of our History and some issues which are still hotly debated nowadays.

As it happens with the older European nations, Portuguese culture and History has known numerous discourses and practices antagonizing the “Other”. Despite the different mediums and impacts, all of these discourses (generically designated with the concept of “anti”) have resorted to different strategies to present the world view, lifestyle, beliefs and ideologies of others as a threat to the positive values of each society. To the extent they respond to ongoing ideological debates or to existing conflicts and tensions between groups/classes/ethnicities/genders and religions, these discourses are “new”.

With this congress we intend to provide an important contribution towards the analysis and the historical, cultural and ideological comprehension of constructed images, in the way of abhorrence, regarding different world views, ways of being, thinking and acting, which were culturally affirmed and marked mentalities and social behaviours.

In light of the axiom "understanding is already the beginning of cure", we intend, with this scientific and academic congress, also to contribute towards an increasingly plural society, inclusive and respectful of difference, but intolerant of all kinds of discrimination (racial, religious, ethnic, etc.) and all kinds of arising oppressions that offend human dignity.


Imagem: linhadeletras | Desenvolvimento: Switx