CFP – Sexual Cultures: Theory, Practice, Research

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From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:

SEXUAL CULTURES: THEORY, PRACTICE, RESEARCH

This conference, co-hosted by the Onscenity Research Network and the Schools of Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel University, will take place on April 20-22 2012 at Brunel University, London, UK.  (More info here.)

Our keynote speakers are:

The key themes of the conference are:

Sex and technology

Technologies of all kinds have been central to the ways in which sex is understood and experienced in contemporary societies. We are interested in papers that explore evolving technologies in the presentation of sex through print, photography, film and video to todays online and mobile media; the ways that technologies are increasingly integrated into everyday sex lives; the expansion of sex technologies in toy, doll, machine and robot manufacture, the marketing of drugs such as Viagra and cosmetic technologies such as body modification and genital surgery for enhancing sex; the expansion of sex work and recreation online; sex 2.0 practices, regimes and environments such as porn tubes, sex chat rooms and worlds like Second Life; and the shifting relations between bodies and machines in the present and in predictions of futuresex.

The regulation of sex

Papers in this strand of the conference will examine how sexuality and the ways in which it is represented are the focus of government policy and subject to various forms of regulation. In democratic societies, sexuality is generally thought to be the domain of the private and personal, outside the ambit of the law whose function in this sphere is simply to maintain public decency. Yet vast amounts of institutional effort and resources are invested in what has come to be called moral regulation, in which self-governance and moral discourse are generally preferred to coercive forms of regulation. At the same time, governments continue to make certain forms of sexual practice and representation illegal. What are the limits of the legally possible today, both in terms of sexual behaviour and representation, and what are the various means employed to encourage us to behave properly in the sexual domain?

Working sex

In recent years sex work has become a potent site for the discussion of labour, commerce and sexual ethics, attracting increased academic attention and public concern. Papers in this strand of the conference will seek to develop our understanding of commercial sex, focus on conceptualizing emerging types of sexual labour, and explore the place of sex work of all kinds in contemporary society. They will ask how an investigation of contemporary forms of sex work and sex as work may shed new light on the study of cultural production, industry, commerce, and notions of commodification and labour. We are also seeking papers which are interested in exploring the connections between work and leisure, work and pleasure, sex work as forms of body and affective labour, and the ethics and politics of sexual labour.

Researching everyday sex

Research into sexuality can often be caught in a politics of anxiety where it is constructed as something that needs to be managed, protected and even guarded against. Sexuality is also understood as absolutely intrinsic to our sense of identity, an important indicator of mental and emotional health and a form of intimate communication and individual fulfillment, as well as an important site of pleasure and play. Papers in this strand of the conference will take as their focus the diverse sexual identities, practices, representations, values and experiences that make up the mundane and spectacular elements of everyday sexual life. We seek papers that examine the politics and/or ethics of researching everyday sexualities, as well as the lived realities of sex in the quotidian.

We invite proposals for the following:

  • Panels and roundtable discussions of up to four speakers
  • Papers (20 minutes)
  • Short Ignite papers (5 minutes/20 slides)
  • Posters

Deadline for the submission of proposals is October 31 2011.

For all individual papers please submit a 150 word abstract and 150 word biographical note. Please indicate which key theme of the conference your paper belongs to.  For panels and roundtable sessions please submit a 600-800 overview and set of abstracts with 150 word biographical notes.  Please indicate which key theme of the conference your paper belongs to. Please submit your proposals to conference@onscenity.org<mailto:conference@onscenity.org>

Onscenity is funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and draws together international experts in order to respond to the new visibility or onscenity of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life. The network is committed to working towards developing new approaches to the relationships between sex, commerce, media and technology. Drawing on the work of leading scholars from around the world, it aims to map a transformed landscape of sexual practices and co-ordinate a new wave of research.

-Bridget Crawford

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