The basic objective of these seminars is to find the correct place for the concept of liminality on the international map of research into literature and related fields. Our definition of the term liminality is as follows:

  1. The nature of texts which are generated on the interface between two or more species of discourse, therefore participating in two or more types of poetic.
  2. The salient quality of texts, genres or representations which gravitate around the concept of the threshold or whose main point of thematic focus is intersection, transition, ambivalence, change or transgression.

Our intent is to problematize conventional divisions between popular and canonical narrative, literature and folklore, fiction and “non-fiction”, as between the paradigms of Renaissance, Enlightenment and “Modern” writings, traditional and feminist criticism, or western and afro-American literatures. The theme which links all these disparate polarities is the articulation of the threshold. The goal of the seminar is to formulate a theoretical approximation to both the concept and the function of the threshold in the areas of text and culture. The raison d’être of the Seminar is fourfold:

  1. to test the hypotheses which underlie the project;
  2. to direct attention on an international scale to the concept of liminality;
  3. to put the research on the subject undertaken in our department on the international map;
  4. to gain some feedback on the ground project that the members of The LIMEN Group (a research team recognized officially in the UAM, code number F-051) have been involved in for the past thirteen years.


The Subject on the Threshold (see The Islt6) will be the sixth encounter of the ISLT. To-date these encounters have been characterized by brevity and concentration. The Seminar has a thematic character and this requires specialists in the subject. For this reason all talks are by invitation only, which excludes casual or compromise contributions. The proceedings of each encounter are published by The Gateway Press in its series Studies in Liminality and Literature (Publications of the Gateway Press).