The Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia (Poland) and Love Research Network are happy to announce the CFP for the upcoming conference:

The Materiality of Love

The interest of love studies in the ways affection can be materialized has been reflected through various scholarly perspectives. Although material culture studies have given the issue less attention, there has recently been a revival of research into the intersection of materiality and love. The conference is seeking to reexamine love from the perspective of materiality studies, especially new materialism and object-oriented philosophy, to sparkle a debate on a relationship between love, objects and new forms of materializing affection. The conference aims to analyze the role of things and material culture in practicing and conceptualizing love. It intends to provide an insight into how materiality (in its broadest sense) impacts the understanding of love today (its meanings and practices), and reversely, how love contributes to the production and transformation of the material world.
With a focus on rereading the emotional through the material and vice versa, the event intends to revisit the already existing academic approaches towards objectification of love, and address the following areas of interest / investigation:
(1) affectionate fetishism (the ways in which objects extend or embody “the loved being” (Barthes, 1977); the forms in which people use things to attach themselves to beloved subjects; being in love with the objects of love through collecting and display)
(2) cultural semiotics of love (new cultural tokens / representations of love; the development of “collective symbols and meanings [to help] people make sense of their romantic experiences” (Illouz 1997))
(3) narratives of love (representations of love through objects in literature, art, film)
(4) technologies of love (love’s (self)constructedness, its self-engineering and “the technology of being together” (Pettman 2006); the impact technology has on practicing love today: the new media and digital realities in practices of affection)
(5) cultural transfer, cultural mobility in love practices (global flow and the circulation of “goods, signs, slogans and styles” (Appudurai 2005) in shaping the materiality of love; transcultural experiences (practices, activities, phenomena, texts) that impact geographically local contexts of love;
(6) love’s physiological materiality in cultural perspective (human physiology and cultural manifestations of affection; the significance of bodily substances for communicating (objectifying) feelings, emotions and desires (Nicholson 2011)).
The conference invites interdisciplinary perspectives and welcomes proposals from all approaches and disciplines including (but not limited to) cultural studies, cultural history, sociology, anthropology, literary studies, critical theory, philosophy, media studies, art etc. It expects papers and panel proposals to explore the variety of themes and problems at the intersection of love and material cultures (as specified in points 1-6), and to engage in a debate on:
• contemporary material discourses of love,
• cultural history: objects and love in historical perspective,
• philosophy of love and the material,
• love and the digital-material: accessibility, image-making and non-contact togetherness,
• love and/in the “old” and new media,
• nature, senses, technology: the use of science and data in materializing affection,
• romanticizing of the objects of love (meta-fetishism),
• collecting as love / love as collecting,
• love and the problem of agency,
• the ethics of chemical intervention in relationships,
• the form of conceptualizing / communicating love,
• material qualities of affection,
• objects and the forbidden love.

The conference, cohosted by Love Research Network, will take place at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia (Poland) on 2-3 July 2015, and is intended as a one panel event to ensure the highest quality of the debate.
Proposals for presentations, papers and full panels (of approx. 500 words) followed by a short bio note should be submitted to by 30 March 2015.
All proposals will be peer reviewed. The cost of the conference is 400 PLN (Polish participants); £90, 100€; 120$ (international participants). Conference fee includes lunch, coffee and snacks, conference dinner and conference materials. For further queries, please contact Dr Karolina Lebek (, Dr Ania Malinowska ( or Professor Michael Gratzke (, or follow the conference website

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s