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Prof. Isabel Capeloa Gil “The compulsion to be cruel. Contemporary (post) colonial returns”

“The compulsion to be cruel. Contemporary (post) colonial returns”
By Prof. Isabel Capeloa Gil

Oculus Building, room OC1.04


Cruelty is idealistic, because it strives for a promise of accomplishment and totality, and it is also compulsive, as it becomes a ‘sustaining fantasy’, supporting the continuous return to a scene of desire through the unwarranted suggestion that this time around satisfaction will be attained. The scene of seduction, more, in fact, than the scene of atrocity - or even as structuring the very scene of atrocity – connotes the work of cruelty as a striving, unaccomplished, and yet idealistic relation between the desiring subject and her object/victim. Looking back to Mozart and Da Ponte’s Don Giovanni’s perverse and contradictory compulsion to repeat , the talk will follow a wider discussion of cruel seduction in contemporary Portuguese filmic production, most specifically that which deals with the memorialization of colonialism, such as Miguel Gomes’ Tabu.

Isabel Capeloa Gil is a Full-Professor of Culture Studies and the current Rector of Universidade Católica Portuguesa. She holds a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures(1987), and an M.A. in German Studies from the University of Lisbon (1992), as well as PhD in German from UCP (2001). On the institutional level, Isabel Capeloa Gil is also the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Culture Studies at UCP and its collaborative research network The Lisbon Consortium. From 2005 to 2012 she was the Dean of the School of Humanities. She is furthermore an Honorary Fellow at the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London. She has held numerous visiting professorships at universities in the U.S., Germany, Brazil, Italy, Ireland and Wales. She is a senior researcher and founder of the Research Centre for Communication and Culture.