CALL FOR PAPERS - «Prisons in Portugal and Europe: history, culture, photography»

Call for papers on 
Prisons in Portugal and Europe:
history, culture, photography

International conference on comparative approaches
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal,
12 and 13 October, 2017

The Centro português de fotografia hosts an exhibition of photography entitled “the portuguese prison photo project”, with historical and contemporary pictures of prisons. It will last from September 9 until December 3, 2017, in Porto, Portugal. The coordinators of the project, Professor Cândido da Agra from the School of Criminology UP, cpf-director Dr Bernardino Castro, both in Porto, Portugal, and Dr Daniel Fink from the Ecole des sciences criminelles of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, together with the professors Maria José Moutinho Santos and Marcelo Aebi, organize an international conference on history, culture and photography in relation to prisons in Portugal and Europe. Next to invited speakers from Portugal and other parts of Europe, it is planned to select through this call of paper some additional speakers to present their research at this conference – their travel and accommodation expenses will be covered. A further possibility for contributors who submit an abstract but who are not selected as speakers is to circulate their paper among those attending the conference and to publish it later in the proceedings of the conference.

In law studies, in criminology and history, the prisons of Portugal have received, in Portugal as well as elsewhere, little attention from researchers. By intent, the subject of this international conference has therefore been defined in a very broad sense, centred on Portugal and Europe. It shall initiate a debate on the study of national prison systems, its links to national (penal) cultures, and to the representation of prisons in photography. These three sub-themes have been chosen in relation with the exhibition at the cpf. The organizers of this call of papers will give preference to conferences on the comparative analyses of national prison systems, on studies on prisons and their place in national (penal) cultures and finally on the documentation of prison systems through photography.

What are the possibilities and limits of the analysis of national prison systems? Which are the approaches, which are the methods used, which statistics and indicators should be developed? How can the Sourcebook of crime and criminal justice statistics or the SPACE data set be used for such analyses? How are prisons to be analysed as part of the (penal) culture of a nation? Which elements are needed to undertake such an analysis? How has the treatment of prisons as a subject of photography evolved? When were those pictures taken for the first time, what was photographed? These are but a few of the questions we would like historians, sociologists, criminologists and other analysts of prisons to tackle and to submit for an in-depth discussion at the international conference on prisons in Porto in October 2017.

Proposals in form of a 200 words abstract for a presentation at the international conference on prisons in Portugal and Europe shall be submitted until June 15, 2017 to Professor Cândido da Agra (Escola de Criminologia: and to Dr Daniel Fink ( Together with the participating colleagues, a selection of the speakers invited will be made in early July and all contributors of an abstract informed by July 15, 2017.


Call for Papers