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Faculdade de Letras

Call for papers

Call for contributions for No. 4, third series, Biblos. Revista da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra


A refuge combines escape and the search for security. Such escape arises from an imminent threat, which may be physical, moral or intellectual. It instigates a demand and therefore a reconstruction of another time and another place. The escape results from a threatening alterity and requires one willing to offer cover and shelter. The urge to find protection, however, does not remove the motivations and the conditions that led to a rupture in the fist place, nor does it heal the marks and traces that prompted separation, abandonment, relocation or the feeling of loss.

These implications, are not only reciprocal, but also largely plural. This plurality both repels any kind of dichotomous notion, and endows the concept with an extraordinary complexity. It also provides the concept with the effulgence of a diamond, exceling in the plurality of its edges, vertices and faces in mutual reflections.

Refuges in plural: external and internal, political or existential, psychological or artistic, individual or collective. Shelters bear the mark of the contingent and the interim. The delocalized carries the key to their house, and in case they do not own a house, within themselves they carry a dream of returning to their origin in order to rebuild the world which they were forced to abandon. Therefore, the concept is closely related to the history of citizenship, to the bonds with the territory, to the concept of travel, and to the transposition. Likewise, it is narrowly associated with the perception of borders, with the awareness of what has been left behind, what has been perpetuated or what has been suppressed. These associations are made by means of an incisive and constant questioning of the sense of belonging and of the relationship between local and global, between exclusion and inclusion, between violence and survival.

A refuge often means a defined material space. A mountain hut offers shelter from the elements, a highway rest area provides a soothing break, a trench defends from the enemy, a bunker protects from airstrikes and atomic attacks, and a catacomb is a stronghold of resistance to intolerance.

However, all refuges exist due to the territories that are within and beyond them. A refugee camp is a protection for those who were forced to abandon their homeland and still seek for a free space. Their forced departure arose from a crises situation, which could have been related to economic, environmental, political or ideological issues. The pilgrimage temple consubstantiates the believer's drive for forgiveness and their long for Eternity. Besides, the system of values may be inverted when the shelters are dens or brothels. In this respect, all refuges share a condition of «heterotopy», since they all are related to the surrounding spaces either by a mirror or by an inverted reflection, but always in a restless way.

Abstractly, the sphere of interiority is a stronghold that does not require an actual dislocation. Since it implies a project for change, keen to improve or modify the present adversity, it acquires a future significance, seeking implementation in a wide ample space. Without this future component, the refuge often becomes evasion. Without historical space and time frames, the refuge transmutes into utopia.

Within the scope of the artistic imagination, the refuge can be built either from the creation of parallel worlds, or from a theme, which nowadays is a particularly developed and established acuteness. On the one hand, through its various media and forms of expression, art is a world of fiction, and thus its metaphoric and symbolic inscription transmutes the real, creating successive absences to be recovered. On the other hand, the narrative of refuges has been gaining an increasingly acute density, and hence its specificity is revealed by some forms of writing such as the intimate writing, the diary and the letter.

The next edition of the journal Biblos, number 4 of the 3rd series, will be dedicated to a topic, Refuge, which has come to occupy a central place in the field of knowledge and will be considered in the light of a number of disciplinary perspectives, under several historical perceptions.

Article proposals should be sent by email to the Journal’s guest editor at biblos.fluc@fl.uc.pt. The deadline for submission is September 30, 2017.

All proposals must conform to the Journal’s guidelines (Guidelines for Authors http://www.uc.pt/fluc/investigacao/biblos/english/guidelines_authors/index) and will be peer reviewed by an experts committee.

Editorial activities will comply with the Code of Ethics. Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors of the University of Coimbra (Editorial policies http://www.uc.pt/fluc/investigacao/biblos/english/editorial_policies/index).