CFP: [Gender Studies] 'AN INVESTIGATION OF MODERN LOVE', 18-23 May 2008, Greece

full name / name of organization: 
James Gifford
contact email: 

18-23 May 2008
Corfu, Greece

The Durrell School of Corfu will host 'An Investigation of Modern Love', an
international seminar, at its Library and Study Centre, 18-23 May, 2008
(Corfu, Greece).

Dr. Shere Hite and Professor Joseph Boone, University of Southern
California, will act as moderators. We invite submissions on all aspects of
literature, psychology, cultural history, sexology, gender studies and
sociology relating to 'Modern Love'. We also hope to receive submissions
addressing the work of Lawrence Durrell and those who influenced him or
were influenced by him.



Lawrence Durrell provocatively opened his prefatory note to Balthazar in
the Alexandria Quartet by stating

"Modern literature offers us no Unities, so I have turned to science and am
trying to complete a four-decker novel whose form is based on the
relativity proposition.... The central topic of the book is an
investigation of modern love"

>From this provocation, the May seminar of the Durrell School of Corfu takes
its inspiration to discuss 'Modern Love' as a notion debated across the
Humanities and Social Sciences. What do we mean when we consider 'modern'
and 'love'? What of Early Modern Love? To make the matter more complicated,
this prefatory note originally read 'bisexual love', and bisexuality is
censored from the other epigrams. What then does 'love' entail, how does it
relate to gender, sexual identity, plurality, and what role does science
play in discussing the matter?

We aim to draw on expertise in as many areas as possible in order to
elucidate the multiple ways Love and Gender Relations are experienced,
described and understood in the 21st century (and in the cultural and
literary context of key writers and investigators of the past).

'Durrell later came to realise... that 'modern love' was in itself an
impossibility'. Richard Pine, Lawrence Durrell, The Mindscape


Opening from the issues surrounding Durrell's views on sex, his attitudes
to love and women, to the gaps between man and woman, and the problems of
gender and identity, seminar participants are asked to discuss any aspect
of Modern Love. How representative were Durrell's views of his period? This
query may be posed equally with regard to any author or artist. What is the
relationship between art or literature and sociocultural attitudes toward
sexuality? In what ways have both changed over time? Do we truly have 'no

Moreover, what does science offer in the 21st century, fifty years after
the publication of Justine, the first volume of The Alexandria Quartet, in
terms of the investigation of modern love? What has changed since
Shakespeare (eg, The Sonnets), John Donne, Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy and
George Meredith (Modern Love); since Sade, Freud, Jung and D.H. Lawrence;
since the Kinsey reports or Alex Comfort (a poet and correspondent of
Durrell's), since Judith Butler, bell hooks, Judith Jack Halberstam, and so

What have we learned about monogamy, polygamy, promiscuity, fidelity and
the varieties of sexual experience in Humans and the Animal Kingdom? Since
the Durrell School of Corfu reflects the concerns of both Durrell brothers,
do Zoology or animal studies offer any new insights? What may be gleaned
from Gerald Durrell's work, and that of other zoologists and
conservationists, about the sexual life of primates, about breeding in
captivity, and so forth?

Potential topics might include (but are not limited to):

    * Recent research, psychological, biological, zoological and
scientific, about the nature of human and animal love, sexual behaviour and
preferences (male and female), the gap between man and woman;
    * Fictional and poetic investigations and explorations of Love and
'Modern Love' in all its aspects;
    * Modernism, Post-Modernism and 'Modern Love';
    * Lawrence Durrell, especially The Alexandria Quartet, concepts of
love, & sexual relations;
    * Papers on ground-breaking writers such as D.H. Lawrence, Henry
Miller, Anais Nin, Constantine Cavafy, Sade, Olga Broumas, Doris Lessing;
    * Theoretical and scientific investigations of sexuality:
    * 'Preference' versus 'Identity';
    * Eroticism and the Exotic, Intercultural relationships, the 'Female
Other' as sex object/femme fatale; Postcolonial approaches; Masculinities
Studies; Female/feminist perspectives on Love (and Lawrence Durrell);
    * Pornography, Erotica, Censorship, and Literature;
    * Film and Modern Love;
    * Gay and Lesbian studies and/or Queer Theory.


Dr. Shere Hite is an American born cultural historian, sex educator and
feminist, an expert on psycho- sexual behaviour and gender relations. Her
sexological work has focused primarily on female sexuality. Her books
include The Hite Report on Female Sexuality, The Hite Report on Men and
Male Sexuality, Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress, Sexual
Honesty, by Women, for Women, and Oedipus Revisited. Her forthcoming books
include Women Loving Women (relationships between women at work and at
home), October 12, 2007 Arcadia U.K., and Questions, March 8, 2008
(International Women's Day), Seven Stories U.S. Her keynote topic at the
seminar is expected to be concerned with the topic 'What is loveÃ'as women
talk about itÃ'are there special emotions related to sex?'

Professor Joseph Boone is Professor of English at the University of
Southern California, where he just finished a four-year term as Department
Chair. A specialist in the novel as genre, gender and queer theory, and
modernism, he is the author of Tradition Counter Tradition: Love and the
Form of Fiction (Chicago 1987) and Libidinal Currents: Sexuality and the
Shaping of Modernism (Chicago 1997). The latter includes a chapter that
expands his earlier work on Durrell in a chapter titled: 'Fragmented
Selves, Mythic Descents, and Third World Geographies: Fifties Writing Gone
Mad in Lessing and Durrell.' Recipient of ACLS, Guggenheim, Rockefeller,
and Huntington Library Fellowships, among others, Boone has co-edited two
collections, Engendering Men: The Question of Male Feminist Criticism
(Routledge 1990) and Queer Frontiers: Millennial Geographies, Genders, and
Generations (Wisconsin 2000). He has also written a dramatic musical, with
his composer-brother Benjamin, based on Herman Melville's novel The
Confidence-Man, and he is currently working on a project titled The
Homoerotics of Orientalism. His keynote talk at the seminar is expected to
be concerned with sexuality, travel, colonialism, modernism, and gay/queer


Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the author's CV, should reach
the Durrell School by 1 February 2008 . Presentations will be limited to 30
minutes each, with another 30 minutes allocated for discussion by
participants including resident faculty and the moderators.


Full texts of accepted presentations must be received by the DSC by 1 May
2008 in electronic form. This is to facilitate circulation of the papers to
all participants in advance. The papers should not be read at the seminar,
but spoken to, since they will have been read by participants before the
seminar opens. In other words, participants should discuss their papers in
order to engage and begin discussion with an audience already familiar with
the written copy. A selection of papers will be published as part of the
DSC's Proceedings.


The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to
include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take
part in the discussions but who do not wish to present papers. The authors
of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance that they
have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places offered
to them. The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel
or accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website for
details of accommodation available in Corfu.

A limited number of scholarships is available: in the first instance,
contact the Administrative Director at: <>.

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Received on Mon Sep 10 2007 - 03:30:38 EDT