Neo-Victorian Sexploitation 2016 Special Issue of the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies

full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies

Neo-Victorian Sexploitation

2016 Special Issue of the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies

Neo-Victorian works display an obsessive interest in sexualised bodies and their physical and aesthetic exploitation, whether for pleasure, profit, pornography or outright abuse. Contemporary culture still contends with many of the sexual issues that precipitated public debate, scandals or panics in the nineteenth century, ranging from homosexuality, prostitution, pornography, incest, paedophilia, reproductive rights, sex crimes, sexually transmitted diseases, and human trafficking to sexual slavery. Arguably, the return to the re-imagined nineteenth century becomes a means both of tracing these social phenomena's genealogy and of working through their repercussions in our own time. Not least, the emergence of the scientific disciplines of sexology, gynecology, and anthropology produced corresponding idioms of hysteria and instinct, purity and contamination, forbidden desires, deviance, and taboo. These continue to inform today's socio-legal contexts, which define and regulate sexual practices and public morality. This special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies aims to investigate the centrality of sexploitation and the desired/desiring body in neo-Victorian discourse, both in the Arts and within wider culture, from new chastity campaigns to contemporary sex abuse scandals, from gay rights activism to steampunk fashion, from burlesque to glamorisations of sex work. It will address the crucial role of sexploited neo-Victorian bodies, their representation and reception, the (un)ethical implications of strategies such as performativity, scopophilia, voyeurism, 'sexsation' and biofictional exposé, and the queer tensions arising between marginality and norms. Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:
• exhibitions of raced and sexually 'colonised' bodies
• representations of the nineteenth-century sex and pornography trades
• voyeuristic displays of non-normative sexualities
• disability and the prurient gaze
• representations of sex crimes and sexual deviance, including remediations of child sex abuse
• sex and violence in steampunk culture
• biofiction's scopophilia and celebrity exposés
• modes of resistance/resilience to sexual victimisation
• the role of gender and genre (Gothic, detective fiction, sensation fiction, etc.) in depictions of sexual violence
• neo-Victorian conceptions of slavery and implicit mirrorings of current cases of human trafficking
• medical sexploitation and/or constructed relationships between social contamination and sexually transmitted diseases
• the role of past and contemporary sexual policy and politics in neo-Victorian forms and critiques of sexploitation

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors, Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz at and Inmaculada Pineda Hernández at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 31 July 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website ('Submission Guidelines') for further guidance.