CfA – Phenomenological Workshop on Love and Sexuality (November 2023)

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Announcing a one-day workshop with the aim to explore, develop, and critically engage with phenomenological descriptions of love and sexuality.

Conference Description

Love and sexuality have always occupied an important space within phenomenological discussions of embodiment, intersubjectivity, intentionality, and affect. Unlike psychoanalysis and poststructuralism, phenomenology has always treated sexuality as having existential meaning, treating it as one among multiple fundamental modes of lived experience. In classical phenomenology we find descriptions of sexuality as an “original intentionality” (Merleau-Ponty 2012), an “original mode of realising Being-for-Others” (Sartre 1978), and a “concrete expression of existence” (Beauvoir 1972). And, in the phenomenological tradition, love is considered an important ground for ethics and the apprehension of persons. Beginning with Husserl’s analyses and deepened in the work of Stein, Scheler, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir, and more, love apprehends the value of other persons and provides insight into the nature of selfhood. Further, love has traditionally been taken to exemplify intimate forms of we-relations and has been claimed to be required for certain forms of emotional sharing (Scheler 2008).

More recently, scholars have drawn on resources within classical phenomenology to provide comprehensive accounts of sexual difference which further illuminate experiences of trans embodiment and nonnormative sexualities (Rodemeyer 2017, 2018; Salamon 2010; Bettcher 2014; Ahmed 2006). These inroads have been further consolidated by the current ferment of discussions which fall under the heading of ‘critical phenomenology’. Critical phenomenological approaches emphasise the importance of bringing phenomenological descriptions into dialogue with perspectives from feminist philosophy, decolonial, latinx, and critical race theory, gender and disability studies, queer theory, and many more. Meanwhile, contemporary phenomenologists of love contend with the question of the nature of romantic love, monogamy and non-monogamies, and heteronormativity.

Within this one-day workshop, the organisers aim to explore, develop, and critically engage with phenomenological descriptions of love and sexuality. The organisers aim to foster dialogue between scholars working on any aspect of love and/or sexuality from a phenomenological perspective. This includes (but is not limited to): desire, sexed embodiment, sexual style(s) and identities, affective intentionality and affective atmospheres, modes of willing and striving, sexual orientation, intimacy, trans* experiences, sexual practices, relationship structures, the roles of empathy and imagination, temporalities, and sexed and gendered differences.

Call for Abstracts

All speakers will be expected to present in-person. Audience participation will be facilitated via Zoom. Speakers will be given 20 minutes to present their paper, along with 15 minutes for Q&A.

Submission Guidelines
The organisers invite submissions of titles and abstracts (300-500 words) for individual papers. Please prepare abstracts for anonymous review in word or PDF form.
Submissions should be sent to Tristan Hedges [email protected]. Please use the following title in the subject line of your email: “Abstract – Love and sexuality workshop”. Personal information (author name and affiliation) should be included in the body of the email.

Important Dates
Latest date to submit titles and abstracts to Tristan Hedges [email protected] (300-500 words): 30 June 2023
Notification of reviewers’ decision: 31 July 2023

Date and location
13th November 2023, University of Copenhagen, South Campus

Please direct any questions to Tristan Hedges [email protected]