Call for chapters: The Materiality of Love

Following our successful conference in the summer, we are giving colleagues another opportunity to contribute:



The Materiality of Love (edited collection)


Love Research Network ( is seeking contributions for a collection entitled “The Materiality of Love”, edited by Ania Malinowska (

and Michael Gratzke (,-linguisti/staff/german/mg.aspx)

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: 15th December 2015

We invite chapters that 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. We are interested in papers that analyze the role of things and material culture in practicing and conceptualizing love as well as 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 collection will attempt to revisit the already existing academic approaches towards objectification of love by addressing the following areas of interest / investigation:

  • 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)
  • 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))
  • narratives of love (representations of love through objects in literature, art, film)
  • 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)
  • 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;
  • 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)).

We are seeking for interdisciplinary perspectives and proposals from all disciplines including (but not limited to) cultural studies, cultural history, sociology, anthropology, literary studies, critical theory, philosophy, media studies, art etc. We expect chapters that explore a 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.

Please send inquiries and proposals to by 15th December 2015. Completed chapters should be submitted by 30th May 2016.

For further queries, please  contact Ania Malinowska ( or Michael Gratzke (

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