Call for papers: The Radicalism of Romantic Love: Critical Perspectives

Call for papers: The Radicalism of Romantic Love: Critical Perspectives
Thursday 29 November 2012

The Humanities Research Centre has called for papers for a November 2013 conference, The Radicalism of Romantic Love: Critical Perspectives.  Papers are sought for this two day inter-disciplinary conference aimed at interrogating the idea of romantic love as a radical political, social and cultural ideal. Love is an important topic not only for scholars of gender but also of politics, sociology and culture more broadly. This conference will present a rare opportunity for a small group of scholars to share their work, discover synergies and to develop networks for future research collaborations. Selected papers will be collected for an edited collection.

Keynote speaker, Professor Eva Illouz from the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, considers love is glorified as a supreme value capable of delivering happiness - a ‘collective utopia’.

Narratives of romantic love, from the poems of the Troubadours to Romeo and Juliet, are associated with individual liberty and equality, personal freedom and satisfaction, and with its radical opposition to conventional social structures.  For this reason romantic love, from the very beginning, was considered a dangerous idea; its connection with individual agency, its disconnection from family, class, social and religious duty, its association with free love and sexual freedom, made it a threat not only to life-long monogamous marriage and traditional family structures but also to divisions based on class, religion and race.

Indeed Anthony Giddens refers to romantic love as ‘intrinsically subversive’ (Giddens, 1992, p. 46).  Romantic love is now thought capable of removing social barriers, of delivering individual agency and even social progress. Nowhere has this discourse been more visible in contemporary political debate in Australia than in the same-sex marriage debate where love is the constant cry against the ban on same-sex marriage.

Possible themes

  • The relationship between romantic love and the institution of marriage
  • The concept of love in the same-sex marriage debate
  • ‘Love marriage’ as a means of rebellion in subaltern cultures
  • Cross-cultural understandings of love
  • Feminist, queer and socialist critiques of romantic love
  • Love, state and legislation
  • Love and disciplinarity in the humanities and social sciences
  • Romantic love in entertainment and the ‘culture industry’


Abstracts can be sent to the convenors, Dr Renata Grossi (Freilich Foundation) or Associate Professor David West (School of Politics and International Relations, by 8 March 2013.


Dr Renata Grossi
Freilich Foundation, Research School of Humanities and the Arts
Sir Roland Wilson Building 120
Australian National University
ACT 0200 Australia
T:+ 61 (02) 6125 5527

Associate Professor David West
School of Politics and International Relations
Research School of Social Sciences
Building 24,   Copland Bldg
Australian National University
ACT 0200 Australia
T: +61 (02) 6125 4256

» The Radicalism of Romantic Love: Critical Perspectives conference announcement


Updated:  29 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications