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Taking Liberties: Sex, Pleasure, Coercion (1748-1928) - 15-17 June 2012
full name / name of organization:
Helen Berry (Newcastle University) on Sex, Marriage and the Castrato
From the publication of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748) to D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), literature has imaginatively exploited the relationship between freedom, coercion and sexual pleasure, constantly pushing at the boundaries of what it is permissible to describe, represent and perform. At the same time, the history of print, film and theatre censorship has been told as a story of progressive unshackling from constraint. In this narrative, these ever-widening freedoms and challenges have been understood as positively beneficial to individuals and to societies. Yet the idea of sexual liberty as an unqualified good has increasingly come under scrutiny, giving way to the realization that freedom from sexual constraint can sometimes mean imprisonment in new and alternate structures of power, frustration and denial. This international, multidisciplinary conference seeks to complicate and enrich our understanding of the relation between sex, pleasure and coercion in a liberal context. It will explore the many ways in which literary and visual texts and performances can be understood to create, reinforce, question and/or dissolve these structures, as well as interrogate the complicity of publishing and the law in their framing and dismantling.
Key conference questions are:
We are interested in literary and visual texts/performances from across the cultural spectrum. We welcome papers from English, Drama, Film & Visual Culture, History, Law, Modern Languages, Sociology and Geography.
Possible topics include:
• Sex, Sexuality and the Law
The conference is organized at Newcastle University by the Long Nineteenth Century Research Group (School of English), with the support of the Gender Research Group and the Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.