Call for papers /
Appel a communications


In collaboration with the Aesthetic Unlimited Research Network the Journal of Somaesthetics announces an open call for papers to a special issue on Beauty:

Beauty is a cornerstone in philosophical aesthetics, perhaps the fundamental one. However, if beauty performs a long-living philosophical role, ever since Plato connected it to truth, it encounters serious problems from Modernism onwards. Some of the most visionary intellectual sensibilities since the end of the 19th century notice the changes that turn beauty into an antiquated concept, e.g. Paul Valéry who in 1928 asks whether ‘the Moderns still make any use of it’, only to conclude that ‘the Beautiful is no longer in vogue.’ Increasingly submitted to entertainment, beauty never recovers to regain its former philosophical glory. On the other hand, the ambiguous decline of true beauty and the parallel rise of a pleasure or sensation-seeking beauty keeps on posing a concern of aesthetic thought. To be sure, the aestheticization of everyday life blends economy and aesthetics, industry and style, mode and art, consummation and creation, mass culture and elitist culture. But how does this aestheticization of the contemporary world affect the very experience of beauty?

In this issue of the Journal of Somaesthetics, we invite contributions from various fields exploring experiences of beauty vis-à-vis aestheticized phenomena in everyday life, design, art, urbanity and elsewhere. The lack of borders within the aesthetic field rebounds on a corresponding unlimitedness in our ability to perceive. Correspondingly, the question is whether the beautiful has become too broad and thus too superficial a concept or does the sentiment of beauty help us to differentiate our perceptions? Mapping the conceptual potentials of beauty points not only to a revaluation of modern and contemporary art and artistic ways of challenging traditional beauty, but it simultaneously emphasizes the need for focusing on the sensible, perceptive and bodily experience. The major question remains how, despite trivialization, beauty may still (or again) refer to an aesthetic experience that is manifesting itself in the sensing body, both as originating from the body, and as appearing in a meaningful, embodied experience.

We invite scholars and practitioners interested in the notion of beauty and beautiful experiences. We do not want to limit contributions to specific fields or methods of inquiry, but encourage scholars and practitioners from various relevant fields (aesthetics, arts, health studies, sports, natural sciences, theology) to submit an article, essay or a documentation of a practical inquiry related to beauty.

Guest editor: Prof. Anne Elisabeth Sejten, Roskilde University, DK

Editorial team: Anne Elisabeth Sejten, Max Ryynänen, Falk Heinrich

The Journal of Somaesthetics is a peer-reviewed, online, academic journal devoted to research that advances the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics, understood as the critical study and meliorative cultivation of the experience and performance of the living body (or soma) as a site of sensory appreciation (aesthesis), practice and realization.

For more information about the journal, see


Papers should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words and prepared for blind review. They should also be prepared according to the Journal’s style guidelines as indicated on the Journal’s website:

Proposed complete articles will be submitted through the link above. Authors should submit a separate cover page indicating author’s name, institutional affiliation, paper title and abstract, word count, keywords, and contact information.


January 15, 2020


Sept 2019: Call for articles

January 15, 2020: Deadline for articles

March15, 2020: Peer-review back

April 30, 2020: Deadline for finished articles

June 2020: Publishing


May 17-18, 2018, University of Milan

In the past few years, the international academic community has developed a renewed interest in the sublime. More than for any other aesthetic category, the relation between its modern and postmodern meanings has been emphasized.  Baldine Saint-Girons (F), Peter De Bolla (UK) and Andrea Meccari (I) are the honourable keynote speakers for this research symposium which aims at investigating the most recent interpretations on the sublime.

We especially welcome contributions offering a new interpretation of the sublime from the eighteenth-century aesthetics, or advancing an approach to the theories of Freud (the uncanny) or to the postmodern thought of Lyotard (Anima Minima). We also welcome proposals offering a theoretical and conceptual approach of the sublime and its relationship with negative sentiments (such as horror and disgust), environment or technology, and phenomena of aestheticization that characterize, not only politics (Benjamin), but every sphere of society (daily life, design, urbanism, etc.) in late modernity.

Finally, we will consider proposals focusing on the relationship between the sublime and the arts, including the theatre. Indeed, the sublime conceptualises an experience of release and loss which captures the subject who experiences it, as reflected in much contemporary art and theatre, when artistic creation interrogates the spectator’s place and questions mimesis. These performances, whereby, as underlined by Carole Talon-Hugon, transgression and expression of the self prevail over “the organization of the sensible according to mimesis’ rules” can be enlightened by the concept of sublime.

Submission Guidelines
Paper proposals should include a 300-word abstract, a list of key-words (5 max.) and a short biography (50 words max.)

Abstracts can be submitted in English or French and should be sent in pdf format to Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis ( and Anne Elisabeth Sejten (

The deadline for submissions is December 31.
Presentations (in English or French) are scheduled for 20 minutes. Accommodation and transportation costs are at the expense of the participants. The research network Aesthetics Unlimited, sponsored by the Danish Council for Independent Research, may however offer a limited number of grants. Please apply, if needed.

Academic committee
Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis, University of Milan
Carole Talon-Hugon, University of Nice
Danielle Lories, University of Louvain
Salvador Rubio Marco, University of Murcia
Anne Elisabeth Sejten, University of Roskilde
Maria Filomena Molder, University of Lisbon

Contact: Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis,

Revisiter le sublime

17-18 mai, 2018, Université de Milan

Le sublime a bénéficié dans le débat international de ces dernières années d’un intérêt renouvelé. Plus que pour d’autres catégories esthétiques, c’est la relation entre sa définition moderne et ses connotations postmodernes qui ont été particulièrement soulignées. Baldine Saint-Girons (F), Peter De Bolla (UK) and Andrea Meccari (I) seront les honorables conférenciers invités pour ce colloque qui se propose d’étudier les relectures les plus récentes du sublime.

Dans la programmation du colloque, nous serons attentifs aux propositions donnant une nouvelle interprétation du sublime en partant de l’esthétique du XVIIIe siècle, ou bien abordant des interprétations comme celles de Freud (inquiétante étrangeté), de Lyotard (Anima Minima) et de la pensée postmoderne au sens large. Nous sélectionnerons également des propositions portant sur une étude théorique et conceptuelle du sublime et de ses relations avec les sentiments négatifs, l’environnement ou la technologie, ainsi qu’avec des phénomènes d’esthétisation qui caractérisent, non seulement la politique (Benjamin), mais toute sphère de la société (la vie quotidienne, le design, la ville) à l’ère de la mondialisation et du numérique.

Enfin, nous prendrons également en considération les propositions se concentrant sur le rapport complexe entre le sublime et les arts, y compris dans le théâtre. En effet, le sublime renvoie à l’épreuve d’un dessaisissement qui saisit le sujet, et qui n’est pas sans évoquer la

création contemporaine, quand celle-ci interroge la position du spectateur à travers une remise en cause de la représentation, de la mimèsis. Ces formes où, comme l’a souligné Carole Talon-Hugon, la transgression et l’expression du moi priment sur « l’ordonnancement du sensible en fonction des exigences de la mimèsis », pourraient être éclairées par le concept du sublime.

Modalités de soumission
Les propositions, rédigées en anglais ou en français, doivent comprendre un résumé de 300 mots maximum, une liste de mots clés (5 maximum) ainsi qu’une présentation biographique. Elles seront envoyées au format pdf à Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis, et à Anne Elisabeth Sejten,

Les propositions de contribution seront examinées et sélectionnées par le comité scientifique du colloque. Date limite d’envoi des propositions : 31 décembre 2017. Les communications, d’une durée de 20 minutes, seront tenues en anglais ou en français.

Les frais d’hébergement et de transport sont à la charge des participants. Le réseau de recherche Aesthetics Unlimited dispose cependant d’une subvention du Conseil Danois de Recherche, laquelle permettra de couvrir les frais pour un nombre limité de participants. Prière de nous signaler si vous en avez besoin.

Comité scientifique
Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis, Université de Milan
Carole Talon-Hugon, Université de Nice
Danielle Lories, Université de Louvain
Salvador Rubio Marco, Université de Murcia
Anne Elisabeth Sejten, Université de Roskilde
Maria Filomena Molder, Université de Lisbonne

Contact: Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis,


May 4-5, 2017, Roskilde University

Confirmed keynotes
Professor Carolyn Korsmeyer, University at Buffalo, New York, USA
Professor Juliane Rebentisch, Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main, Germany
Professor Carole Talon-Hugon, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France

Questioning the concept of taste inevitably points to a deep root of aesthetics. During the eight-eenth-century, taste attracted philosophical attention so intensely that the notion – as leitmotiv and emerging concept – became operative as a way of founding the genuine philosophical dis-cipline of aesthetics.

That is why the opening conference of the research network Aesthetics Unlimited focuses on taste. The concept of taste is indeed challenging and intriguing because it obliges us to reconsider a – perhaps forgotten, perhaps archaic – conceptual framework of aesthetics. The original conception of taste evolved around the establishment of asthetics as based in communities of taste that were supposed to mean more than merely subjective conformity to class markers or tradition. However, if aesthetics descends from taste, it should make us wonder why taste has been so astonishingly straightforward dismissed by philosophical aesthetics in the following centuries in order only to reappear – modernised and standardised – in sociological terms of particular domains of taste, taste of fashion, taste of music, taste of cooking, etc.

Such anachronistic tension is exactly what motivates the broader research question of Aesthetics Unlimited: What are the role and potential implication of classical aesthetic thought in the unlimited realm of contemporary aestheticization? The ubiquitous stagings of experience in today’s media, politics, leisure, and art have significantly expanded the field of aesthetics proper. However, the vocabularies and perspectives developed in early modern aesthetics have never been entirely left behind in this process. In continuous dialogue with later developments in twentieth century aesthetics – including the “anti-aesthetic” attitudes of postmodernist thought and its preferences for lust, desire, pleasure, and boredom – key concepts of classic philosophical aesthetics such as taste, pleasure, affect, and beauty continue to shape what we understand as “aesthetic.” Accordingly, the shared vocabulary of contemporary aesthetics often seems to disintegrate into a common terminological nebulous conglomerate, formed as it is by the complex historical mixture of different philosophical traditions, different conceptual paradigms, different sociocultural and technological conditions and different domains of interest.

The conference revisits and investigates the concept of taste in its contemporary and historical guises in order to consider its potentials and possible inadequacies in the exploration of current phenomena of aestheticization. There is undoubtedly no direct way back to the eighteenth cen-tury aesthetics’ category of taste, but between its early developments into bourgeois identity and future mass consumerism, between autonomy and the market, detours might be envisaged and explored. We welcome a transdisciplinary range of papers that enable such new potential per-spectives on contemporary aesthetics to take place. Concerning several academics approaches – history of art, philosophy of art, sociology, modern culture etc. – topics may reflect, but are not limited to, the following questions of interest:

• What are the relations between subjectivity and the social body in regards to taste? Already Baltasar Gratiàn pointed out the social dimension of taste (El Héroe, 1637), and by associating gusto with the “je ne sais quoi” Gratiàn anticipated a central binding element of eight-eenth-century discussions of taste. Especially British philosophers provided an empiricist framework for theories of taste, e.g. Hume’s essay Of the Standard of Taste (1759), which again draws on French thought, particularly on Jean-Baptiste Dubos’ Critical Reflections on Poetry, Painting, and Music (1719). Further on along this line: How does sociological de-bates later on explore taste in relation to culture and value (Simmel and Bourdieu)?

• How does taste relate to reason and attention? What runs through the effervescence of taste in European Enlightenment is the fact that taste appears as more than a metaphor for aesthetic sensitivity; taste also interacts with reason. Even though judgments of beauty are not primarily mediated by inferences from principles or applications of concepts, but rather demonstrate immediacy (cf. Dubos’ famous ragout example: we “taste” beauty, as we taste a meal), judgments of taste require some amount of reasoning in order to taste the beauty of the fine arts (Hume). In the same vein it can be argued that the relationship between imagi-nation and understanding is at the core of the judgment of taste in the Kantian conception of the beautiful.

• How might taste engage processes of subjectivation? Taste is subjective. In matters of taste, the subject is on its own, responsible, unguided by ration-al method. Yet, taste is also objective; taste implies the objective authority to perceive things beyond prejudice and naivety. In addition, my taste is not only “for me”. Taste concerns com-munities, arises from and build spirits of communities. Especially in German Enlightenment, taste concerns – not what is simply given – but the ability of judging, acquided by steady exertion. The concept of taste entails that of Bildung, pointing to cultivation efforts of the subject.

• Which reasons motivate and justify the eclipse of the concept of taste in nineteenth and ear-ly twentieth centuries aesthetics? And how might the early conceptualizations of taste be re-flected in the reappearances of the term in more recent philosophy, sociology, psychology, and cultural theory, within particular aesthetic domains such as music, art, fashion, politics, food, and media? Also art critics (Greenberg) as well as philosophers within critical theory (Adorno) relate ambiguously to taste, severely critisized between “kitsch” and “avant-garde”. Which reconstructions of the concept of taste are at stake?

• How can the concept of taste revitalize present debates about art, aesthetics and politics? And how does taste possibly meet and interact with other reconceptualizations that have gained relevance in contemporary philosophy and art theory. Theories of affects, dating as far back as to Baroque, might be discussed in a gustatory perspective, since both affect and taste originate in the flesh.

• How does the concept of taste operate an inaugurating distribution of other key concepts in aesthetics, such as beauty, pain, expression, art, sensation, affect and sensus communis? This question also aims to discuss the following network activities.

Network members of Aesthetics Unlimited, as well as interested scholars, are kindly invited to submit proposals for papers by sumitting a title and an abstract before January 30 2017.

Presentations will be scheduled for 20 minutes and be included in a discussion session, moder-ated by a chair.

Academic committee
Esther Oluffa Pedersen, Ulrik Schmidt og Anne Elisabeth Sejten
Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University.

Contact: Anne Elisabeth Sejten,