Between Places and Spaces: Landscapes of Liminality

A Cross-Disciplinary Conference

5-6 June 2014

Trinity College Dublin

‘Place is security, space is freedom: we are attached to the one and long for the other.’

– Yi Fu Tuan, Space and Place, 1977.

Within the context of Human Geography, seminal thinkers such as Yi-Fu Tuan have provocatively interrogated the age-old and intricately tangled question of man’s relationship to his environment, Far from static, it is infinitely complex and wrought with contradiction. In an increasingly urbanised world, we grow ever more wary of any space outside of man’s domain. Such space seems chaotic, threatening, and unpredictable – and yet at the same time, darkly seductive. Similarly, our so-called ‘places’ refuse to sit comfortably in a modern world, ‘united’ by global capitalism and communication technology, but also fractured by political and cultural conflicts.

The recent ‘spatial turn’ in literary and cultural studies marks an attempt to comprehend the ways in which we conceive of and construct the places and spaces we occupy. It illustrates a complex picture of the changes and consistencies of our experience of space over time, and the relationship between individuals and society at large.

This two-day cross-disciplinary conference aims to bring together a wide variety of perspectives from within the humanities, in order to explore man’s composite and mutating relationship to spaces and places. We are interested in the literal and the metaphoric, the real and imaginary facets of space and place. The conference will probe what it means to be ‘liminal’, examining those areas and moments in which one is caught between the intimate and the exposed, the familiar and the frightening – between place and space.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Theories/differences of place/space
  • Theories of liminality (What does it mean to be ‘liminal’?)
  • Real and/or imaginary places/spaces
  • The relationship between place/space and literary form
  • Writing space and gender
  • The politics of space
  • Phenomenological, Marxist, post-colonial and/or feminist theorisations of the spatial
  • Spatial form (in literature/film, etc.)
  • Human geography
  • Haunted spaces
  • Psychological spaces
  • Virtual spaces
  • Spatial memory
  • Class/race/sexuality as defined/mediated through space/place
  • Jungles/islands/forests/cities/the wilderness
  • Outer space
  • Internal/external controversies
  • Insular/exposed spaces
  • Space and subjectivity
  • Boundaries
  • Public/private spaces
  • Self/other spatial relations
  • Individual/social spaces

We are also eager to put together a panel on Dublin City as a space/place, and so we welcome any proposals that are specifically catered to this.

If you are interested in presenting a 20-minute paper, please forward your abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with a brief biography, to

The deadline for submissions is 31st January 2014.


Dara Downey, Ian Kinane, Elizabeth Parker (IRC Scholar),

Trinity College, Dublin

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