UPDATE: [18th] Sex and Material Culture in the Eighteenth Century

full name / name of organization: 
Kathleen Lubey
contact email: 


Sex Objects: The Erotics of Material Culture
ASECS, 3/27-30/08, Portland OR

Such anthologies as Alexander Pettit and Patrick Spedding's
Eighteenth-Century British Erotica (Pickering and Chatto, 2002 and
2004) and Bradford K. Mudge's When Flesh Becomes Word (2004) remind us
that the eighteenth century was an erotic age. At the same time,
recent studies of commerce, consumption, and material culture call our
attention to the period's fascination with objects and things in
everyday life. This session seeks papers that consider the material
aspect of sex lives, or, conversely, the sexual aspect of material
life in the British eighteenth century. We welcome a broad
interpretation of the topic; proposals may address (but should not be
limited to) the following questions:

--Is sexual agency enhanced or compromised, enabled or disabled, by
the subject's proximity to material objects?
-- What is the relationship between the erotic and the aesthetic as
ways of organizing subject-object relations?
--What is the status of the flesh, as sexually animated material, in
18th-century culture?
--Is there, to borrow from the title of a recent collection edited by
Mark Blackwell, a "secret life of things" in this period? Do the
private thoughts, desires, and experiences that define the modern
sexual subject extend to the object world? In other words, do things
have sex lives in the 18th century?

Email 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers as MS word attatchments
to Kathleen Lubey at kathleen.lubey_at_gmail.com by September 15, 2007.

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Received on Fri Aug 31 2007 - 13:43:01 EDT