CFP: [18th] Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS Women's Caucus 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Abby Coykendall
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“Heteronormativity in Eighteenth-Century Studies” (ASECS Women's Caucus)

The eighteenth century, as we have often been told, witnesses the birth of sexuality and the birth
of the public sphere at once. What we have less often been told are the ways in which these two
seemingly asymmetrical developments intersect, whether during the period or within the critical
discourses and scholarly practices that have since accumulated around it.

In “Sex in Public,” Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner define heteronormativity as the
“institutions, structures of understanding, and practical orientations that make heterosexuality
seem not only coherent … but also privileged.” As they note, “[c]ontexts that have little visible
relation to sex practice, such as life narrative and generational identity, can be heteronormative
in this sense,” reinforcing the “invisible, tacit, society-forming rightness” of heterosexuality,
even as the “coherence of heterosexuality” assumes ever more “provisional” and “sometimes
contradictory” forms.

Are the long eighteenth century and/or eighteenth-century studies “heteronormative” in this
respect? If so, in what ways has feminism served to destabilize or stabilize that

Abby Coykendall, Eastern Michigan U.
Ana de Freitas Boe, Baldwin-Wallace College

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Richmond, Virginia
March 26 - 29, 2009


Send proposals to Abby Coykendall by September 15, 2008:

Dept. of English Language and Literature
Eastern Michigan University
603G Pray-Harrold Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: (734) 487-0147
Fax: (734) 483-9744

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Received on Fri Jun 20 2008 - 08:56:05 EDT