Call for Papers: Mood – Aesthetic, Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives

An Interdisciplinary Two-day Conference at the University of Warwick

6th and 7th May 2016

Keynote speakers:

Prof Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (Comparative Literature, Stanford University)

Author of Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung: On a Hidden Potential of Literature (2012), Production of Presence: What Meaning Cannot Convey (2004) and After 1945 - Latency as Origin of the Present (2013).

Prof Giovanna Colombetti (Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology, University of Exeter)

Author of The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind (2014) and co-editor of Emotion Experience, a 2005 special edition of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.

Mood is an affective phenomenon located at the intersection of philosophy, aesthetics, musicology, psychology and sociology. It is as central to our experience of the world and of art as it is difficult to grasp theoretically. Bringing together scholars from various disciplines, this two-day conference will foster an interdisciplinary discourse about the nature of mood and its significance for human and aesthetic experience. As an emerging topic in literary criticism, mood has been problematised in a number of recent publications, in which critics have turned to other disciplines, especially psychology and musicology, in order to develop theories of mood. At the same time, scientific disciplines, such as psychiatry and cognitive science, examine this phenomenon empirically in relation to mood disorders like depression. However, thus far the interdisciplinary potential harboured by mood has not been explored sufficiently. The main objective of this conference is to bring together and to create synergy between disciplines whose research addresses the same phenomenon in different ways.

Summarising the outcomes of the conference, we wish to submit a book proposal for an edited volume on mood with articles that bring together perspectives on mood from the disciplines mentioned above. This publication shall foster a vivid interdisciplinary discussion about the nature and significance of mood as an emerging topic in the humanities, social sciences and in the sciences, contributing to the process of conceptualising mood from a perspective that is not limited to the arts but is also informed by philosophical thought and scientific research.


We invite abstracts of up to 300 words, plus a brief biography, for papers of no more than 20 minutes or panels of three associated papers. We encourage submissions that address the concept of mood from a theoretical or interdisciplinary angle. Submissions can cover but are not limited to the following questions and topics:

  • Concepts of mood/‘Stimmung’ in philosophy:
    • Heidegger’s ‘Stimmung’
    • Aesthetics and mood in Kant, Schiller et al.
    • Kierkegaard, existentialism and anxiety
  • Mood in psychology, psychiatry and cognitive science
    • Mood and its relationship to the concepts of emotion and affect
    • Mood disorders: depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
    • Empirical studies of mood
    • Neurological and cognitive foundations of mood
  • Aesthetics of mood
    • Aesthetics and theories of mood in literature
      • Concepts of mood, atmosphere, disposition and ethos in literature
      • Pathetic fallacy
      • The moods of Romanticism, Modernism, etc.
    • Mood in film and theatre
      • Cinematic and theatrical atmospheres
      • Cinematic portraits of mood: Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia, von Trier’s Melancholia, etc.
    • Mood and music: theories of ‘Stimmung’, attunement, harmony and dissonance
  • Politics of mood/social moods
    • Normativity and mood
    • Social moods/collective states of mind/Prechter’s concept of mood in socionomics
  • Mood in linguistics/grammatical mood
  • Specific moods, such as:
    • Anxiety
    • Boredom
    • Melancholy
    • Nostalgia
    • Ennui
    • Paranoia
    • Exhilaration
    • Ecstasy
    • Awkwardness

Abstracts should be sent to by 29 February 2016.

For more information, please visit