CFP: Nordic and Baltic Symposium on Love at Göteborg University

Exploring Affect: Love

27ŧh February 1st March, 2015 | Göteborg University

Exploring Affect, a study circle in the independent intellectual organization Nordic Summer University, invites scholars, students, artists and activists to an interdisciplinary symposium on love at Göteborg University from 27th of February to 1st of March in 2015.

Invited speakers are Tove Pettersen, professor of philosophy at Oslo University, who will talk about the notion of love in the philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir, Brita Planck, phd in history at Göteborg University, who will present her dissertation Kärlekens språk (The Language of love), and Lena Gunnarsson, post-doc in gender studies at Örebro University, who will discuss her recent book “The Contradictions of Love: Towards a Feminist-Realist Ontology of Socio-sexuality” (Routledge 2014). In addition, Danish actress Camilla Graff Junior, active in the French feminist collective “Genre et Ville” will give her performance “Is love a concept by which we measure our pain?”.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

The philosophy of love. The purpose of this theme is to raise the philosophical question of love, referring both to the actual discipline of philosophy, the history of ideas and the theory of love formulated in the social sciences. Papers may adopt a historical perspective or address contemporary concerns.

* Love in the work of major philosophers.

* Love in the tradition of feminist philosophy.

* The ethics of love: Love as generosity, as reciprocity, love and the ethics of care.

* Epistemological and methodological questions connected to the study of love and affect.

* Queer or feminist theory and the philosophy of love.

Love and modernity. Whether construed as a normative concept, a historical period or a set of critical questions, the notion of modernity is a part of contemporary discussions in many disciplines. Modernity is also a key concept in the sociological turn towards love in the classic works of Luhmann and Giddens. We invite reflections on love and modernity drawing on or reworking the extant literature from the social sciences, but we also want to create a dialogue with the humanities.

* What is the relationship between notions of love and the creation of subjectivity in, for example, popular culture, literature, art or historical documents?

* What could perspectives from the humanities bring to the discussion on love in the social sciences and vice versa?

* Love and modernity in the works of major writers.

Love and gränser. The Scandinavian word ”gräns/græns/grens” comprises the meaning of the two English words ”border” and ”limit”; a notion which may be understood in a material or symbolic sense. Under the rubric of love and gränser we invite reflections on love in connection to concepts such as nation, race, ethnicity, migration and citizenship.

* What is the the role of discourses on love in the construction of limits/borders, imaginary or material?

* In what way can love be related to the construction of communities such as the family, the people and the nation?

* How is love described in narratives about migration, whether oral or literary?

* What perspectives do we need to address the question of love in the urgent political situation of migration today?

Unhappy love. According to popular ideology, love entails the promise of happiness. In literature and the arts, however, unhappy love is a recurring theme; from Greek tragedy to the contemporary novel. We invite critical reflections on the relationship between love and (un)happiness.

* How is the relationship between love and happiness represented in for example popular culture, literary texts or historical documents?

* Are gendered norms of love and sexuality reproduced also in narratives on unhappy love and love without a happy ending?

* What happens when the experience of love contradicts the ideology of love in society?

* Could unhappy love be used as an occasion for critical interventions and as a site of resistance to dominant notions of love?


Those interested in presenting a paper at the symposium in Göteborg are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words to no later than December 7ŧh, 2014. As the work of the circle is built around the contributions of the participants, we generally require all participants to present, but exceptions can be made. If you wish to participate without presenting a paper, please write 50-100 words about yourself and submit it by December 7th, 2014. You will receive notice about your acceptance shortly after submitting your abstract. A preliminary program will be sent to the participants by December 15th.

Practical information

The registration fee is 300 SEK for students and independent scholars and 500 SEK for senior scholars. Registration entitles you to accommodation in a shared double room and lunch meals, all of which will be organized by the coordinators. Single rooms are available for an additional fee. Further instructions about registration and payment will follow in an e-mail to all accepted participants.

NSU will also be able to fund parts of the travel expenses for Nordic and Baltic participants. The exact amount of the financial support depends on the number of participants and their country of residence. The rate of reimbursement is related to the actual cost for traveling to Göteborg from the different Nordic and Baltic Countries.

About the Nordic Summer University. Founded in 1950, the Nordic Summer University is an independent, non-profit academic institution that supports intellectual exchange between the Nordic and the Baltic countries. Focusing on interdisciplinary inquiry, the NSU is open for senior scholars as well as advanced students and professionals with relevant backgrounds. Until 2013 the NSU was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, but as of 2014 we have been moved to NordForsk.

About the circle. Exploring affect was started in 2013 and gathers twice every year for three years. Themes that have been addressed earlier are Shame, Affect and Knowledge, Affect and/as Critique, and Affect and Structure. The circle has strong interdisciplinary ambitions and participants should be prepared to engage with work from other fields, disciplines and traditions than their own. We wish to provide a platform for the different perspectives to inform each other, thereby deepening the scope of each individual research endeavor, as well as of the shared body of knowledge. We are happy to include new participants in our circle.

Coordinators. Coordinators of Exploring affect are Jutta Vikman, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen and Johanna Sjöstedt, Department of literature, history of ideas and religious studies, Göteborg University. Contact the coordinators at

Read more about the Nordic Summer University on the website: or join our group Exploring affect (NSU) on Facebook.

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