Tainted Love: Screening Sexual Perversities

full name / name of organization: 
Darren Kerr and Donna Peberdy/Southampton Solent University


Tainted Love
Screening Sexual Perversities

Original proposals are sought for an edited collection on the representation of sexual perversities on screen. The screen has a long history of providing a space in which taboo sexual practices and perversions have been played out in multiple and diverse ways. Matters of taboo and perversity are too often located within discourses of moral panic, degeneracy, deviance and disease, which present those who enact such sexualities as modern folk devils. The contemporary screen has explicitly and expressively interacted with such discourses and debates.

The representation of paedophilia, incest, necrophilia, zoophilia, intergenerational relationships, sadism, masochism, bondage, domination, kink and fetish, and themes of obsession, addiction, and erotomania have been foregrounded on screen. While the expectation may be that such social, cultural and/or legal transgressions would be the exclusive terrain of art and alternative cinemas, a significant move towards the mainstream is evident in examples such as HBO's Six Feet Under (2001-2005), Andrew Jarecki's documentary Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Nicole Kassell's independent film The Woodsman (2004), and Lee Daniels' recent Oscar winner Precious (2009).

The screen is yet to be acknowledged and fully explored for its engagement with such topics. Just as the screen is offering more challenging and thought-provoking approaches, critical studies needs to interrogate this area and provide a coherent account of cinematic and televisual representations. The aim of this collection is to explore the "perverse" beyond the limited and negative semantic and discursive fields that constrict both meaning and understanding. In order to move past binary distinctions of good and bad, normal and abnormal, moral and immoral, Tainted Love seeks to critically interrogate perverse sexualities and sexual perversities on screen that range from condemnation and demonisation to representations that offer alternatives to pathologising such sexualities.

Proposals are welcomed on, but not limited to, the following topics:

• socio-cultural/historical approaches
• critical/theoretical debates
• industry/institutional approaches: Hollywood, independent, television, world and European cinemas, art, alternative and the mainstream
• genre: horror, comedy, documentary, pornography
• gender, sexuality and sexual deviance
• the eroticisation and sexualisation of childhood
• censorship and coding
• adapting the perverse from literature to film
• ethics and morality
• audiences and spectatorship
• authorship, stardom and performance
• the representation of paedophilia, incest, necrophilia, zoophilia, intergenerational relationships, BDSM
• themes of sexual obsession, addiction and erotomania.

Please send proposals of 250-300 words and a short biography to:
Darren Kerr Darren.Kerr@solent.ac.uk and Donna Peberdy Donna.Peberdy@solent.ac.uk by 1st June 2010

Darren Kerr is a Senior Lecturer in film and television at Southampton Solent University. He has published articles on screen violence, adaptation and sex on screen. He is the co-editor of Hard to Swallow: Hard-core Pornography on Screen (Wallflower Press forthcoming).

Donna Peberdy is a Senior Lecturer in film and television at Southampton Solent University. Her research and publications focus on masculinity, sexuality and performance in American cinema.