The upcoming X Lisbon Consortium Graduate Conference in Culture Studies will be focusing on the concept of Face as an object of artistic, cultural, biological and technological interest.
During a two-day Face (Of)f in Lisbon, participants will be able to confront their ideas about the subject, take part in intellectually challenging discussions and networking with new colleagues.

Please consult here for more information about the event. 


Photograph taken by Alexander Krivitskiy.


FACE is everywhere. It has travelled through a variety of cultural expressions, serving as an object of affection (e.g. photo albums, paintings), lending itself towards obsession (e.g. Narcissus and Dorian Gray), serving as a metaphor (e.g. ‘to lose one’s face’) or giving name to one of the most powerful enterprises in the world – Facebook. It has been a locus of fetishization and power, represented through historical portraiture in sculpture, paintings and photography, from Greta Garbo’s divinity complexion in Queen Christina (Barthes 2007, 74) to the imperial portraits of Majesties and Kings (Mirzoeff 2015).  It is also through the face that humans engage in recognition of both themselves as well as the other. The face operates as a sensorial platform for communication and dialogue (Lévinas 1982) for verbal, non-verbal and sign languages. 

Faces may also be of a terrifying nature, dysmorphic traits serving as visage for alterity and difference, prompting to a state of conflict and uncertainty through confrontation, such as in the myth of Medusa or in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We see the face invading our everyday lives, constantly exhibited on social media, as a means of communicating with others, as well as negotiating our own identity online. Digital technologies, in particular, have explored the face in a variety of contexts, promoting, for instance, photo filters and face-tuning apps, or developing facial recognition systems and databases. 

FACE can also be understood from a perspective of absence or concealment, leading us towards the usage of digital avatars, masks and veils, many of which are sometimes paralleled with cultural and religious celebrations.

We aim to discuss the different epistemologies created around the concept of “face”, and bring together researchers from around the world for a face off on how face is experienced and thought in their research areas. How does the face dictate how we perform, how all of our five senses are present in the face, how does the face frame one’s individuality, one’s identity traits or the way one thinks and makes meaning out of the world? How does one bestow meaning to the face? Likewise, can its absence become uncanny, and its invisibility connect to the unknown? 

We want to encourage discussing the face, in the encounter at the X Graduate Conference in Culture Studies taking place on the 2nd and 3rd of April 2020 at Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon. 



This Graduate Conference Face off is organized by three PhD students of the Lisbon Consortium, the doctoral program in Culture Studies at the School of Human Sciences,Universidade Católica Portuguesa. We are welcoming proposals from all research areas to address and discuss the following and related topics: 

* Face in the Arts.

* Face in Literature 

* Face representation in Media and Communication 

* Face as a Metaphor and Metonymy 

* Aesthetics and dysmorphia of the Face 

* On Masks, Veils and the absence of face – from the Ritual, through Religion to Carnival.

* Face and identity 

* Face of the Other 

* Face in Performance, Performativity and Identity 

* Face of AI and UFO 

* Face and IT

* Face and Politics 

* Biology and Emotionality of the Face

Proposals should be sent to no later than January 5th January 31st, 2020 and include paper title, abstract in English (max. 250 words), name, email address, institutional affiliation and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning ongoing research.

The Organizing Committee,

Ana Flora Machado, Cristina Gil



– Barthes, Roland. 2007. “The Face of Garbo.” In Stardom and Celebrity: A Reader, edited by Sean Redmond and Su Holmes, 261-262. London: SAGE Publications.

– Lévinas, Emmanuel. 1982. Ethics and Infinity. Duquesne University Press.- Mirzoeff, Nicholas. 2015. How to See the World. UK: Pelican Books.

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Palma de Cima
1649-023 Lisboa , Portugal Lisbon