Mad Love: UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Conference

Comparative Literature UCLA Graduate Division's picture
Call for Papers
February 19, 2016 to February 20, 2016
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Human Rights, Sociology, Social History / Studies

The contested boundary between madness and love regularly reasserts itself throughout recorded history. We can trace the shifting relationship between these two phenomena across most (if not all) societies and epochs, particularly in literature and art. From lovesickness in the Middle Ages, to nymphomania and hysteria in the Enlightenment, to the stalker in American horror films, the boundary between love and madness is often blurred.

In keeping with recent critical attention to the history of the passions and the body, we are interested in the aesthetic representation – literary, visual, and oral – of love madness. How are these extreme states represented in literature and art? Where is the line drawn between passionate love and mad love? How has the representation of love and/or/as madness changed over time, and what effect has this had on real-world treatment of the mentally ill? How is space left for mad love as a positive or subversive force, if at all?

This year’s UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Conference will explore the many manifestations of mad love in literature and cultural history. We invite graduate students to present papers on related issues. Topics on the intersections between social conceptions and artistic depictions of love and madness might include, but are not restricted to:

  • Love as a disease
  • Love, madness, and psychoanalysis
  • Bodies performing desire
  • Love, madness, and identity
  • Gendering desire and/or madness
  • Love, madness, and violence
  • Monstrous love
  • Creative production/inspiration and love/madness
  • The role of the sensory in love and madness
  • Mental Health and Human Rights

We are open to papers in all disciplines and treating material from all time periods. In addition to conventional panel presentations, we will offer performances and viewings/screenings of creative work; interactive workshops on topics such as translation; and discussion sections on pre-circulated materials (primary and/or secondary).

Contact Info: 

Please submit your 250-300 word proposal/abstract and a CV to by Monday, September 21st. Kindly mention “Submission: CLGraduate Conference” in the subject of the e-mail. All submissions should include the title of the paper, the abstract, and the name, affiliation, and contact information of the author. Please specify whether you are interested in (a) presenting on a panel of 20 minute papers or (b) presenting/performing a creative work. For any additional queries, please contact

Paper on a panel: please include your CV and 250-300 word abstract

Creative work: CV and 300 word description of project (i.e. short film, live or recorded music, reading of short play/short story/ poem). Please note any a/v needs and the length of your presentation (in minutes for something recorded, in words for something performed live). NB: Poetry readings are likely to be grouped into one large session.