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INAA – Barcelona Symposia 2015: Love, Lust and Longing: Rethinking Intimacy

5th International Symposium: Love, Lust and Longing: Rethinking Intimacy

Part of the Research Program on: Recasting Bonds

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate @


Monday 11th to Wednesday 13th of May, 2015 

Venue: Betahaus BCN

Address: (Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia, 08024)

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

(Submission Period Opened: 29th of October, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 6th of April, 2015)

While discussion of sex become ever more common, opportunities to explore the nature of love are still rare. When the topic is raised, most often the focus is on dramatic experiences or hard cases. The “epic” and the “mundane” are probably more intertwined in our experiences of love than cultural speech and literature admit. Yet, an imbalance continues to exist: we reflect little on the smallness of events that sustain love bonds. What goes unexamined as such are the ways in which love is spoken of and enacted in everyday life.

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the lived experience of love considering the ways in which it is described and how it is practiced, identifying how love differs from and overlaps with concern, care, friendship and lust and raising questions about the ontology, expression and politics of love.

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and explaining these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals that address these general questions or the following themes:

The Ontology of Love

– How best do we categorize our experiences of love? Is love a chemical reaction? A cognitive structure? A consumer product? A narrative strategy? A convenient fiction?

– Is love an interpersonal phenomenon or an individual experience?

– Is love the kind of thing/the kind of experience that can have a beginning? Is it the kind of thing that can be subject to an end?

– Is love something that can be “found”? Can it subsequently be “lost”?

– Is love debt by another means?

Speaking of Love . . . 

– Can we speak of love? Is to speak of love to attempt to say the unsayable? Is a language of love necessary?

– What is it about the experience of being in love that is so difficult to share and communicate?

– We speak of our experience of “being in love,” of “loving someone but not being in love with them” and of “making love.” How is the word “love” deployed in these contexts? Is it used synonymously?

– In an era marked by online dating, text messaging and friends with benefits, does Plato’s lexicon of love still apply? Is his account of three forms of love – eros, philia, agape – still sufficient? What should be added and what should be subtracted? How is the lexicon of love evolving?

– What are apt metaphors for love?

The Phenomenology of Love

– Where does love start?  Where does it end?

– What is the relationship between desire and love? How is this relationship played out in everyday life practice? How is it captured discursively?

– Why has lust been so often experienced and so quickly condemned?

– How do we describe/characterize the experience of “falling” in love? Is love an experience that we “fall” into? Is this an apt descriptor of this phenomenon?

– Does “romantic” love differ from experiences of “mature” love?

– What is the place of betrayal, cheating and infidelity in love? How do we deal with these? Do we deal with these with love? Should we? Why?

– Can love “fail”? Is to speak of “failure” in this context a sign that we have misunderstood the nature of love?

– How do we deal with love when death separates us from our beloved? How can we recognize love and care in mourning and bereavement?

The Look of Love: The Aesthetics and/of Love

– How is love best described? Is it reducible to words? Is it better captured by images or by sounds or by sensations and sensorial memory?

– What is the place of taste, presence, smell, aura, touch and other embodied sensations in the experience of love and its sensorial reconstruction?

– How has love been depicted across history? How has it changed? With what affect? Is it possible to recognize and acknowledge patterns in historical periods?

– What are the effects of the definitions of love on the conceptions of bonds and the nature of relationship?

– What are apt representations of love? How do we make such determinations?

– Why is love so often explored in the arts? Why is it so rarely the subject of philosophy or sociology?

Caring for Self

– What does it mean to love one’s self? Is this a misnomer?

– Is care of the self a necessary condition for the possibility of care of others? Can we advocate and promote the caring for self without compromising our caring for others?

– What is the relationship between Eros and Narcissus? How does one keep in check “Narcissus” while caring for one’s self? Should one keep Narcissus in check?

– Is love (or caring for oneself) a necessary condition for living happy and/or productive lives?

Small Intimacies 

– How are we to understand the logic of the kiss? Is the kiss a promise? Is it a question?

– Can we see, smell or feel the presence of love? What is the relationship between perception and this lived experience?

– What prefigures our experience of love and what extends it?

– What is the relationship between secrecy, intimacy and love?

– How does boredom and routine figure into our experiences of love?

– How do we deal with rejection? Are there other ways of accepting and dealing with the devastating experience of being rejected?

Bonds of Care

– What is the relationship between love and care?

– Is there a logic to/of care? Can it be subjected to reason and justification?

– What is the relationship between care and concern? How do need, responsibility, care and love differ? How do they overlap?

– Does care necessitate reciprocity? Does the refusal of care negate its existence?

– How can we deal with metaphors of blood, linage, family and heritage in care or love that might develop as loving care? Where to situate obligation and how to conceive it?

– Can we exercise choice and assume happenstance in our bonds of care?


– Who is a friend? How is the term defined? How do we recognize a friend?

– Is friendship a form of love or is it a distinct virtue?

– Can there be friendship without desire?

– Is lust a necessary condition for friendship? Is it an inevitable outcome?

– Do sex and/or lust put friendship at risk? Why?

– Is friendship premised on reciprocity of feelings?

Lessons on Love

– How is love manufactured? How do books, films or TV series influence our ideals of love?

– How can we explain the increasing demand for a literature of/on love?

– How is love merchandized?

– Can we buy love? What assumptions inform our responses to this question?

– Is love measurable? Is it quantifiable?

– Can one live without love? Are there any discourses that explain life without love?

The Politics of Love

– Is equity a necessary condition for love? Does social inequality undermine intimacy and love?

– What is the role of power in relation to love and intimacy? Is love always and necessarily a tool of power?

– Can love and politics be extricated one from the other? Is the democratization of the bonds of intimacy, care and love possible?

– How are experiences of love framed by cultural and social discourses?

– How is the increasing number of intercultural relationships changing our understanding and practice of love? What are the benefits and challenges of intercultural love and of these cross-cultural practices?

– How are new information and communications technologies shaping our experiences of love?

Broad Venues

– Can we love collectives or is love applicable only to particulars?

– Is it possible to love what is divine or is love a uniquely inter-subjective human experience?

– What are the conditions for the possibility of agape? Can these conditions be met in contemporary society?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Monday, 6th of April, 2015. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage:

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Monday 27th of April, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain


Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Albin Wagener


Faculté des Humanités

Université Catholique de l’Ouest

Angers, France




Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.

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