What We Think about When We Think about Love

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
University of East Anglia / University of Essex

What We Think About When We Think About Love: Call for Submissions.

Histories, Practices & Potentials of love.

Editors: Stanislava Dikova (University of Essex), Wendy McMahon (University of East Anglia), and Jordan Savage (University of Essex).

 

‘Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed’. bell hooks, Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, 1994. 

“Free love? As if love is anything but free! Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love.” Emma Goldman, Marriage and Love, 1911.

‘True solidarity is found only in the plenitude of this act of love, in its existentiality, in its praxis. To affirm that men and women are persons and as persons should be free, and yet to do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality, is a farce.’ Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1968.

 

To love, in our society, is not a radical act. Traditional intellectual, political, and cultural histories of modernity that have shaped our contemporary relationship with the concept of love, have worked hard to convince us that love is not political and should not be politicised. Love is often conceived as the opposite of politics – one is intimate, the other public; one selfless, the other self-interested; one is quiet, the other vocal. The idea that any act of love may have a political charge seems to threaten dominant narratives of development and progress, especially as the power of love is a common driving force behind many global emancipation struggles. As a result, neo-liberalism has produced a certain brand of love that is aimed at working against us and constraining its revolutionary potential. 

This edited collection takes as a starting point bell hooks’s assertion that "most of us find it difficult to accept a definition of love that says we are never loved in a context where there is abuse” (bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions, 2000), and asks, “is love possible in the context of oppression?”

Our hypothesis is that the commodification of love is a key tool of neo-liberalism. We posit, therefore, that a sharper critique of marketized discourses, as well as in-depth exploration of marginalised or misunderstood histories and practices of love, can bring forth an expanded understanding of its potentials as an organising principle for resistance. Assembling a new pedagogy of love might help us recover an intellectual tradition that challenges intransigent modes of thinking and identification, and expands the boundaries of regulated knowledge at the present time. 

This is an open call for writing in any discipline on the subject of love. We encourage creative, cross-disciplinary submissions, that need not take the form of a traditional essay, as long as they bring the potential, commodification, weaponization, or liberation of love into clearer view. We do not wish to limit the definition of diversity; therefore, we actively encourage submissions from those who feel that their modes of loving and understanding love are often overlooked.

Abstracts of 400 words, for 5,000-8,000 word submissions, should be sent to theloveproject2020@gmail.com. Please include the likely length of your submission, and a 50-word author biography indicating any institutional affiliations. You do not need an affiliation to submit to this project. The deadline for submissions is 1st May 2020. Selected contributors will be invited to submit full essays by 20th December 2020.

We welcome submissions on any aspect of love, particularly those that relate to marginalised texts and forms of love. These might include:

  • Queer love
  • Revolutionary love
  • Individual and communal love
  • Environmental love
  • Experiences of love in a colonial context
  • Migration and love
  • Human rights and love
  • Legal love
  • Love and justice
  • Commodified love
  • Intimate love
  • Neoliberal love
  • Hope, happiness and healing
  • Enchanted love
  • Self-care and wellness
  • Love and faith

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

With Love, 

Wendy, Jordan, and Stanislava