CFP: [Cultural-Historical] âSexing the Book: Bodies, Texts, Practices.â

full name / name of organization: 
Emily Essert

The English Graduate Students Association of McGill University is pleased to announce its 15th
annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature. This year’s conference is entitled
“Sexing the Book: Bodies, Texts, Practices.” The conference will be held in Montreal, Canada on
March 27-29th, 2009.

>From Chaucer to Butler and beyond, writers, critics, and theorists of English literature have been
writing about sex in conventional as well as controversial ways. The recent scholarly interest in
sexual practices and sex work has not only reemphasized the material nature of sexual acts; it
has also offered detailed and fascinating views of human sexuality’s particular socio-historical
forms. The study of sex in literature contributes towards our understanding of the cultures in
which the texts we study are produced and consumed. It also raises important questions about
the nature of human inwardness and social relationships, as well as aesthetic creation. How do
literary representations of sex reflect the socio-historical moment of a text’s creation? How, if
at all, can we distinguish between pornographic texts and ‘literature’? How can we/do we read
sexually-suggestive lacunae in our texts? In what ways is the literary text itself a sexualized
body? What problems arise when discussing/representing a physical act in the nonphysical
medium of language? We invite and encourage panels on writing of any genre or period, on a
broad range of topics relating to sexual practices and their representation(s) in literature.

Possible topics might include:

Literary representations of sex work
Textual representations of sexual practices
Pornography as/and/vs. literature
Sex and technology
Sex and the spirit: sex and sin, religious ecstasy, libido
Sex and gender
Sexual spaces: brothels and bawdy houses, sex and/in the home, sex clubs
Sociology of sex: infidelity, monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, incest and other taboos
Censorship and criminalization
Sex and health/disease
Critical theory on sex: feminist criticism, queer and gender studies, power and discourse
Sexual metaphors of literary creativity

Our keynote speaker for the conference will be Professor William Fisher of Lehman College,
CUNY. His award-winning book is entitled Materializing Gender in Early Modern English
Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP, 2006), and he is presently working on a new book on
sexual practices in the Renaissance.

Please send panel proposals (300 words) via email to Emily at or to
Sara at by Friday, November 21st, 2008. Approved panels will then be
posted on the UPenn site by the beginning of December, along with a general call for papers.

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Sun Nov 02 2008 - 21:26:14 EST