Rated-X: Perversion and Exclusion
Abstracts (250-500 words) Due: January 5, 2012
Plenary Speaker: Lee Edelman, Chair, Department of English, Tufts University
In celebration of the 36th anniversary of the initial publication of Foucault's first volume of The History of Sexuality, the 6th Annual Brandeis Graduate student conference will explore the ins and outs of various forms of an X-Rating. Being Rated-X implies being marked as other/as outside/as unacceptable as well as being marked as desirable/as visible/as exceptional. Rated-X implies the nakedness of porn and the openness that comes with that. For some there is liberation in this openness. For others there is only exposure. This necessitates the question of whether certain populations are made disposable through exile or instead through visibility; through the erasure or marking of bodies as other. We would like to use this conference to explore some slippage—between these two (and more) types of identification with otherness: the transgression that empowers and enables pleasure versus the polarizing otherness that disenfranchises and dehumanizes. Relevant questions include: Who is doing the marking? Who draws the boundary lines? Does an "X" marking/rating make the bodies of those so-rated untouchable or excessively available for use; or does an "X" rating elevate a body to exceptional status or release it from the strictures of its prescribed social identities? Thus, we will be accepting papers about the exiled body, porn, and anything in between.
This round table discussion will consider a study of what is rated-x in academia. What is not worthy of study? What is shameful? What are the margins of acceptability in the academy? We are accepting abstracts for participation in a round table discussion that explores these boundaries and the means by which they are established.
This past year, the question of what is acceptable in the academy was brought to a head when a psychology professor at Northwestern University's job was threatened after he allowed a live sex act on his stage after class. This is one of many instances that highlights the urgency of a self-reflexive study of censorship.
Participants will submit 5 minute papers on this topic for circulation, addressing any of the following concerns or other related questions: What are the limits of what is an acceptable object of study? What is the expected object of study? What is exposed to observation in academia? What words can or cannot be used? What images can or cannot be shown in professional scholarship or in the classroom? What methodologies are supported or excluded by institutional practices? Please feel free to submit to the Round Table discussion panel in addition to submitting a paper to present.
Abstracts for round table: January 5, 2011
Papers submitted for pre-circulation: March 1, 2012
Creative Arts Panel
We will be accepting submissions for a creative arts panel in order to allow critical discussions to engage with artistic practice. This panel will allow us to further explore disciplinary boundaries and the possibility of interdisciplinary and cross-media discussion. We will accept paintings, poetry, stories, videos/DVDs, and any other media. Please submit a 250 word abstract via email/mail and relevant slides/images on CD or DVD via mail.
Suggested List of Topics
-Genres of Smut
-Porn and Race
-Histories of Sexuality
-Sex and Madness/Pathology
-X as a variable
-The problem of academic "sexiness"
-Pornographic gaze in science
-GPS tracking of bodies for surveillance, for pleasure, etc.