Love: Transcultural Perspectives
Virtual Symposium
Based on the International Handbook of Love Publication

August 14th, 2022 (10am-3pm EDT)

Sponsored by the ORI Academic Press, the Object Relations Institute,
International Psychohistorical Association, Clio’s Psyche and the Psychohistory Forum

Conference is free, but Registration is required. Please use this form for registration.
For more information, write to Dr. Inna Rozentsvit at
or Dr. Ken Fuchsman at .

Claude-Helene Mayer: The International Handbook of Love - Is Not Another Love Book

Claude-Helene Mayer: The International Handbook of Love – Is Not Another Love Book

Love has become a vibrant research topic, not only with regard to romantic love relationships as such, but also with regard to theoretical and conceptual research studies. Claude-Hélène Mayer is presenting a brief introduction to the nature, value and colors of love, referring to the state of the art in intercultural and international love research. She will also refer to the latest research findings from her recent study on love of intercultural couples.

Claude-Hélène Mayer is a Full Professor in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at the University of Johannesburg, an Adjunct Professor at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany and a Senior Research Associate at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology (University of Pretoria, South Africa), a Ph.D. in Management (Rhodes University, South Africa), a Doctorate (Georg-August University, Germany) in Political Sciences
(socio-cultural anthropology and intercultural didactics) and Master degrees in Ethnology, Intercultural Didactics and Socio-economics (Georg-August University, Germany) as well as in Crime Science, Investigation and Intelligence (University of Portsmouth, UK). Her Venia Legendi is in Psychology with a focus on work, organizational, and cultural psychology (Europa Universität Viadrina, Germany). She has published numerous monographs, text collections, accredited journal articles, and special issues on transcultural mental health and well-being, salutogenesis,
transforming shame, transcultural conflict management and mediation, women in leadership in culturally diverse work contexts, coaching, culture and crime and psychobiography.

William Jankowiak: Review of the State of Ethnological Research on Love

William Jankowiak: Review of the State of Ethnological Research on Love

Within anthropology and sociology three primary theoretical lenses have arisen for examining love in cultural and transcultural contexts: (1) The social structural perspective that examines how features of a society’s organization and beliefs give rise to particular conceptions of love and how changes to social structures further transform expectations and experiences of love; (2) The bio-social theory of love which merges social structural perspectives on cross-cultural variation with evolutionary psychological and cognitive perspectives aimed at explaining why certain aspects of love are culturally universal; and (3) The critical perspective of love that highlights how cultural constructions of love and the social structures that formed them give rise to social inequalities. After synthesizing these three perspectives we examine how they have influenced the findings of the latest ethnographic and empirical studies of love and its cross-cultural variability and continuity. We thereby compare the fruits each theoretical perspective has born as tools to interrogate love as both a psychological essence and cultural experience.

William Jankowiak is a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an internationally recognized authority on urban Chinese society, urban Mongols, Mormon fundamentalist polygyny, and love around the world. Jankowiak has authored over 123 academic and professional journal articles and three books, and he has edited or co-edited four volumes. His research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The EconomistThe New York TimesTimeABC Primetime, NPR, the History Channel, TLC, BBC, and NBC.

Çiğdem Buğdaycı: Ashk: The Sufi Concept for Love

Çiğdem Buğdaycı:  Ashk: The Sufi Concept for Love 


Eros, agapē, and philia are distinct concepts of love, which the modern world has inherited from Plato. The Islamic concept of love (Turkish ashk), while also rooted in Plato, has been omitted from the scholarship of love and philosophy. In Sufi cosmology, the world is created out of ashk and for the sake of ashk. Ashk is a concept, which transcends the division of sacred and profane. All beings are made of love and deserve care, compassion, and mercy.
This presentation proposes to position ashk next to eros and agapē as a missing link in the Platonic heritage. The particularity of Sufi ashk, and its parallels and disparities with eros are examined.

Çiğdem Buğdaycı (Ms.), received her B.A. in Western Languages and Literatures at Boğaziçi University, and her M.A. in Cultural Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is a Ph.D. candidate at ASCA (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis), the University of Amsterdam and writing her dissertation on the changing significations of the concept of Sufi love with regard to secularism and modernization of Turkey.

Aaron Ben-Ze'ev: Cyberspace: The Alternative Romantic Culture

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev:  Cyberspace: The Alternative Romantic Culture 


Cyberspace provides an alternative culture to one’s actual romantic setting. It enables participants to explore exciting romantic options without bearing significant costs in terms of resources and efforts, and without necessarily violating significant personal commitments. The new romantic culture, in which cyberspace has a prominent role, is both seductive and sustainable. Two major contributions of cyberspace to the romantic realm are facilitating finding a willing romantic partner, and creating more types of romantic relationships. Their impact upon the nature of romantic relations is examined. A major impact is making romantic relations more complex, diverse and flexible, and at the same time briefer and more superficial. The normative impact of cyberspace on the romantic culture is discussed, indicating the increasing violations of values and boundaries in our romantic behavior. Today’s abundance of romantic and sexual options facilitates finding love, but obstructs keeping it for a long time. However, the need for love does not disappear among young people as well as people in their later life, or when love is mature. A combination of offline and online interactions can be very fruitful for cultivating the romantic realm.

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Haifa, Israel. He received his Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago (1981). Major books: The Perceptual System (Peter Lang, 1993); The Subtlety of Emotions (MIT, 2000), Love Online (Cambridge UP, 2004), In The Name of Love (with Goussinsky, Oxford UP, 2008); Die Logik der Gefühle (Suhrkamp, 2009); The Arc of Love: How Our Romantic Lives Change over Time (University of Chicago Press, 2019). He is Co-editor (with Angelika Krebs), of Philosophy of Emotion, Four Volumes (Routledge, 2017). He has published over 130 scholarly articles in scientific journals.
At the University of Haifa, he was President (2004-2012), Rector (2000-2004), Dean of Research (1995-2000), and Chairperson of the Philosophy Department (1986-1988). He is the Founding and former President of the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions.
Professor Ben-Ze’ev is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the study of emotions. His research focuses on the philosophy of psychology, and especially the study of emotions. Most recently, his research has centered on love and the impact of time on romantic love.

Elisabeth Vanderheiden: “A Matter of Age?” - Love Relationships Between Older Women and Younger Men: The So-called “Cougar” Phenomenon

Elisabeth Vanderheiden:   “A Matter of Age?” – Love Relationships Between Older Women and Younger Men: The So-called “Cougar” Phenomenon

While love relationships between older men and younger (adult) women have been well-researched, the equivalent relationship of elder women with younger men has led a shadowy existence in research so far. At the same time, public interest in such relationships is growing, evidenced by interest in celebrity relationships such as those of Demi Moore, the 90 Day Fiancé reality TV star Jenny Slatten and her Indian partner Sumit, or the French President Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, with a corresponding mainstream media. In public discussion, the older women in such relationships are often labelled as “cougars”. The slang term “cougar” is often used to label older females who seek a relationship (or relationships) with younger males (The Oxford British and World English Dictionary, 2012). and the younger men as “toyboys” or “cubs”.
This presentation focuses on the impact that age difference has on relationships, the issues that arise for the partners, and which opinions and prejudices they have to face. In this chapter, relevant current research results are presented and discussed. In particular, possible significant factors such as gender and culture are considered in detail.

Elisabeth Vanderheiden is a pedagogue, theologian, intercultural mediator. She is the CEO of the Global Institute for Transcultural Research and the President of Catholic Adult Education in Germany. Her publishing activities focus not only on pedagogy, in particular on the further education of teachers and trainers in adult education, vocational and civic education, but also on the challenges and opportunities for digitalization. She has edited books on intercultural and transcultural issues. Her most recent publications deal with shame as a resource, and with mistakes, errors and failures and their hidden potentials in the context of culture and Positive Psychology. Current research projects deal with love in transcultural contexts, life crises, and humor in the context of Positive Psychology 2.0. Other focuses of her work are Design Thinking in transcultural contexts as well as Ikigai.

Contact of PRESENTERS/AUTHORS by Email:

Claude-Helene Mayer ()

William Jankowiak ()

Çiğdem Buğdaycı ()

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev ()

Elisabeth Vanderheiden ()

Learn more about the book that inspired this virtual conference, International Handbook of Love: Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives (edited by Claude-Hélène Mayer & Elisabeth Vanderheiden):

This handbook includes state-of-the-art research on love in classical, modern and postmodern perspectives. It expands on previous literature and explores topics around love from new cultural, intercultural and transcultural approaches and across disciplines. It provides insights into various love concepts, like romantic love, agape, and eros in their cultural embeddedness, and their changes and developments in specific cultural contexts. It also includes discussions on postmodern aspects with  regard to love and love relationships, such as digitalisation, globalisation and the fourth industrial revolution. The handbook covers a vast range of topics in relation to love: aging, health, special needs, sexual preferences, spiritual practice, subcultures, family and other relationships, and so on. The chapters look at love not only in terms of the universal concept and in private, intimate relationships, but apply a broad concept of love which can also, for example, be referred to in postmodern workplaces. This volume is of interest to a wide readership, including researchers, practitioners and students of the social sciences, humanities and behavioural sciences.

“In the 1970s through the 90s, I was told that globalization was homogenizing cultures into a worldwide monoculture. This volume, as risky and profound as the many adventures of love across our multiplying cultures are, proves otherwise. The authors’ revolutionary and courageous work will challenge our sensibilities and expand the boundaries of what we understand what love is. But that’s what love does: It communicates what is; offers what can be; and pleads for what must be. I know you’ll enjoy this wonderful book as much as I do!” (Jeffrey Ady, retired Associate Professor, Public Administration Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Founding Fellow, International Academy for Intercultural Research)

“The International Handbook of Love is far more than a traditional compendium. It is a breath-taking attempt to synthesize our anthropological and sociological knowledge on love. It illuminates topics as diverse as Chinese love, one-night stands, teen romance or love of leaders and many more. This is a definitive reference in the field of love studies.”  (Eva Illouz, author of The End of Love: A sociology of Negative relationships. Oxford University Press.)

“This is not a volume to be read in a single sitting (though I almost did, due to a protracted hospital stay), nor is it romantic or inspirational reading (though, in some cases, I had hoped for more narrative examples and case studies. Rather it is a highly diverse scholarly effort, a massive resource collection of research papers on love in a variety of contexts, personal and professional settings, and cultures. The work is well referenced providing a large number of resources for deeper exploration. …. We owe our thanks to the authors and editors of this “handbook” for work well done, though that word in the title should not lead readers to suspect that, enlightening as it is, this book is a vade mecum or practical tour guide that provides ready solutions to the vicissitudes and challenges of our love lives!” (Reviewed by Dr. George F. Simons on

Please see Claude-Hélène Mayer’s interview related to the handbook in LeanHealth Talks published by Bernadette Bruckner:  

Please see Claude-Hélène Mayer’s interview related to the handbook published In Iran News Daily:

Publisher’s webpage for this publication can be found here: