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Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality and History Conference, 27 April 2012
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University of Exeter
Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality and History Conference
University of Exeter, 27th April 2012
Stefano-Maria Evangelista (University of Oxford)
Statuary has offered a privileged site for the articulation of sexual experience and ideas, and the formation of sexual knowledge. From prehistoric phallic stones, mythological representations of statues and sculptors, e.g. Medusa or Pygmalion, to the Romantic aesthetics and erotics of statuary and the recurrent references to sculpture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century sexology and other new debates on sexuality, the discourse of the statue intersects with constructions of gender, sex and sexuality in multiple ways.
As historical objects, statues give insight into changing perceptions of the sexed body and its representation; they tell stories of ownership and appropriation of sexualities across diverse cultural locations and historical moments. As an imaginary site, statues can serve to trouble the distinction between subject and object, reality and unreality, presence and absence, and present and past, thereby offering rich possibilities for thinking about the relation between individual and communal identities, sexuality and the past.
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate how statues facilitate this interplay of sexuality and history. It explores the numerous different ways in which statues – as historical and/or imagined artefacts – allow us to think about the past and its relation to sex, gender and sexuality.
The conference brings together contributors from a wide variety of disciplines, including history, gender and sexuality studies, literary and cultural studies, art history, classics, archaeology and philosophy. Contributions from postgraduate research students are very welcome.
Papers should explore how statuary intersects with questions of sexuality and gender, and temporality, specifically history. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Uses of Statuary in Sexual Science
The conference is organised by Dr Jana Funke (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jennifer Grove (email@example.com) as part of the interdisciplinary Sexual History, Sexual Knowledge project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, and led by Drs Kate Fisher and Rebecca Langlands.