Appel à contributions – « Cultural Organizations: Between the Local and the Global (1880s-1960s) »

Cultural Organizations: Between the Local and the Global (1880s-1960s)

International conference organized in the framework of the ERC StG project Social Networks of the Past: Mapping Hispanic and Lusophone Literary Modernity (1898-1959), led by Diana Roig Sanz.

GlobaLS – Global Literary Studies Research Group:
IN3 – Arts and Humanities Department

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)

Date: November 19-20, 2020
Venue: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Av. Tibidabo 39, 08035, Barcelona (Spain).

N.B.: Given the exceptional circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the organizers wish to express that we will follow the situation closely and an online version of this conference might be considered if future updates advise it. Even though an on-site format is preferred, a final decision will be provided to all participants at the beginning of September. 

For an extended version of the present Call, please, see:

Over the last few years, the study of cultural organizations has kindled the interest of a growing number of researchers who work in diverse fields, disciplines, and perspectives—including cultural and literary history, sociology and international cultural relations. Despite the potential of this object of study, it poses several challenges given the polysemy of the term, the heterogeneous realities encompassed by it and the disciplinary fragmentation from which cultural organizations have been studied to date. In this sense, we lack a shared theoretical framework that would allow us to consider their common features and articulate their differences.

Understanding cultural organizations as: 1) organizations that promote cultural transfer and thus facilitate the circulation of persons, ideas, and symbolic goods, 2) spaces that provide cohesion to national cultural fields by articulating the relationships between the various actors in said space, but which can also enable international projection. International action in the cultural field can present different connotations according to each culture’s position in the international arena: when it comes to hegemonic cultures, foreign promotion may camouflage an imperialist project, while when it comes to peripheral, non-state, or minority cultures, foreign promotion appears to be a necessary strategy to compensate for a lack of economic and military power; and 3) agents that favor the creation of transnational intellectual networks in a broad sense.

The goal of this scientific gathering is to study cultural organizations, both private and public, that operated on a local, national, regional or international scale from the last few decades of the nineteenth century to the 1960s, given our understanding that said period saw a shift towards a transnational cultural space. We aim to use case studies to analyze their internal operations (organization, members, activities, evolution, changes over time, etc.), relations to their broader context (historical, political, economic, etc.) and as vectors of cultural internationalization and consolidation.

The proposed areas of research include the following entanglements from a wide range of geographic scales:

The internationalization of a culture through the actions of cultural organizations

What are the specific features of power relations in the cultural field and what mechanisms have been used historically to alter or add nuance to these features? Which historical examples might we study, both as successes and as failures? Which cultural organizations and actors articulate cultural internationalization? How is the global manifested in cultural organizations operating at the local/national level? How does foreign action influence national culture? How does the process of professionalization evolve in the field of cultural mediation? How does this shift become manifest in specific practices? How are cultural organizations related to other forms of cultural mediation, such as magazines, conferences, congresses, and festivals?

Articulating the public and the private

How are public powers related to cultural organizations in the private sector? What is the relationship between private initiatives and the public powers that formulate cultural policies?

 Transnational analysis

Is dialogue possible between cultural organizations in different geographical contexts? Can parallels be established among different and idiosyncratic processes? How can we articulate transnational comparisons without diluting the power relations between cultural areas? What are the specific features of the practices of hegemonic cultures, on the one hand, and of peripheral cultures, on the other?

The revision of theoretical frameworks and methodologies in the study of cultural organizations

What are the main challenges that the study of cultural organizations faces in terms of accessing and collecting primary sources? What can the digital humanities, big data, data visualization tools, etc., contribute? How can network analysis inform our understanding of cultural-transfer phenomena? What are the advantages and issues with using the notion of the network, either metaphorically or not? How can these be combined with traditional methodologies, such as the bibliographical focus or the prosopographical study?


Authors should submit an abstract (300 words), filiation, bio-note and a short reference list to Elisabet Carbó ( and Diana Roig Sanz (dsanzr@uoc.edubefore July 15, 2020.

Papers may be written in English, French, Spanish, or Catalan. During the Conference, an extended summary and a power-point presentation (if used) should be written in English to ensure successful exchanges between participants.
Participation in the Conference is free, but speakers and assistants must register due to the limited number of seats. The organizers will send the link for registration after the acceptance of all papers.
The organizers have planned the publication of a collective edited volume in a top-ranked publisher or a special issue in a well-known international journal. All papers will go through a double-blind peer review process.


-Elisabet Carbó (Social Networks of the Past/GlobaLS, IN3, Estudis d’Arts i Humanitats, UOC):
-Diana Roig Sanz (Social Networks of the Past/GlobaLS, IN3, Estudis d’Arts i Humanitats, UOC):
-Lucía Leandro Hernández (GlobaLS, UOC):

[1] This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 803860).



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