Call for Papers – ZoneModa Conference 2019. “Be Cool! Aesthetic Imperatives and Social Practices”

ZONEMODA CONFERENCE 2019: “Be cool! Aesthetic Imperatives and Social Practices”.

University of Bologna, Rimini Campus.
Department for Life Quality Studies.
International Research Centre “Culture Fashion Communication”.

ZoneModa Conference is a scientific event which aims to become an occasion for scholars to deal with fashion as an interdisciplinary research field, which encompasses dynamic and cross-cutting forces, hybrid forms of analysis and experimental research methodologies. 
With the goal of exploring groundbreaking research tracks in the world of Fashion Studies, each Conference will focus on a different topic.

The topic of the 2019 conference will be: “Be cool! Aesthetic Imperatives and Social Practices”.


It is almost trivial to underline how our current reality has undergone a process of widespread aestheticization. 
On the one hand, this fact proves that the aesthetic has fundamentally become an “imperative” while playing a relevant role in social practices, and on the other hand it reminds us that what is required today is a better understanding of what is actually at stake when we talk about the aesthetic in terms of “imperatives”, and we inextricably link it to social dynamics.

The dimension of appearances and the expression of taste preferences cannot but be considered as determining factors in this framework.

All this makes emerge fashion’s paradigmatic role for dealing with the pressing theme ZMC 2019 aims to inquire into: not only fashion is intrinsically connoted by the priority of appearances and taste over other features of our experience, but it does so while intertwining the aesthetic and the social implications it has.
And this is presumably why the imperative “be cool!” is supposed to work on both levels and has such a deep impact on our reality. In this framework, the conference will focus on both considering fashion as an exemplary case of aesthetic practice, especially in the current context, and emphasizing the need for social-human sciences to understand the widely aestheticized character that reality itself has assumed today.

Oriented by a multidisciplinary approach – the only one which can do justice to fashion’s multiform and complex character – the 2019 conference will investigate such implications by welcoming proposals addressing (but not limited to) the following questions/aspects:

– What does it mean and imply determining social relationships on the basis of values and criteria that are also, if not especially, aesthetic?

– How does fashion influence other domains of life and culture (art, design, mass media, music, lifestyle etc.), and actually lead them to focus or even centre their attention on aesthetic aspects in order to improve their impact on society?

– What is the exact role played by fashion with regard to such relevant phenomena as the increasing digitalization of our experience, the reorganization of economic processes of production, and finally globalization?

– To what extent is it possible to conceive of the aesthetic mediation carried out by fashion as an essential factor to achieve a fruitful and, so to speak, peaceful or non-colliding “fusion” of Western and Eastern cultural paradigms?    

– Is it desirable today to have a conflict of aesthetic and ethic values, or at least some kind of difference and friction between the aesthetic and the ethic dimensions, or does the ongoing development of aestheticization progressively nullify any autonomous rest of “the ethical”?

– What does the socio-aesthetic relevance of fashion consist of?

– What’s the phenomenological, ontological, or social status of appearances?

– What are the prospects of the so-called “social fashion” (whether fashion can be socially engaged/beneficial; whether fashion helps define a new genre of fashion replacing the old cliché of elitism and class, etc.)?

– What is the relationship between fashion and body practices (tattoos, plastic surgery, scarification) seen as phenomena of aestheticization and also of constitution/expression of one’s identity?

– How is the concept of aestheticization, in general, related to questions concerning “cultural legitimacy” in such realms as mass media, film, television, gaming and web aesthetics?


The Conference will take place in Rimini on May 16-18, 2019.

Location: Department for Life Quality Studies, Palazzo Ruffi-Briolini, d’Augusto 237, 47921 – Rimini, Italy.


Keynote speakers will be Prof. Joanne Entwistle (King’s College London) and Prof. Elizabeth Wilson (London Metropolitan University).

Concluding remarks with Prof. Emanuele Arielli (IUAV University Venezia), Prof. Barbara Carnevali (EHESS – Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales) and Prof. Elena Esposito (University Bielefeld and University of Modena-Reggio Emilia).

Special plenary session “Not just glossy words: The language of fashion in the digital media era”, organized by the research group supervised by Prof. Emanuela Mora (Cattolica University of Milano): an excursus on the recent transformation of the Fashion Media System aiming at stressing the performative role played by the fashion media in providing an aesthetic and practical imaginary for the aestheticization of reality and human experience.


The conference organizers welcome individual papers and panel proposals to:

Website of the ZoneModa 2019 conference:

Website of the Department for Life Quality Studies:

Website of the International Research Centre “Culture Fashion Communication”:


New deadline for submission: January 31, 2019

(Due to several requests from potential contributors to postpone the deadline, the organizers of the conference have decided to postpone it from January 15 to January 31, in order to favour a wide participation and submission of abstracts).

Authors will be notified by February 28, 2019.

Proposals should not exceed 800 words in length.

Please make sure to also attach a short CV (max. 150 words).

Language: English.

After the conference, speakers are expected to send a full paper of their speech for publication of the official proceedings, by August 31, 2019.


Conference participants are required to pay a conference fee of EUR 100,00, or EUR 80,00 if they register before March 15 at:

The conference fee is EUR 70,00 for PhD, Graduate and Undergraduate Students of other Universities.

No conference fee for PhD, Graduate and Undergraduate Students of all courses at the University of Bologna.