CFP: [18th] [18th]: Queer Perspectives on the Eighteenth-Century Family (ASECS 3/26-3/29 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Kristi Krumnow
contact email:

CFP: "Queer Perspectives on the Eighteenth-Century Family" at the Annual
Conference of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, March
26-29, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia
Panel organized by the Gay and Lesbian Caucus.

Against the “natural” norm of a nuclear, bourgeois family headed by a
father, the last forty years have seen a profound re-evaluation of what
constitutes a family. Without a doubt, the foundation for this norm was
laid in the eighteenth century in Europe and North America. But in showing
how the development of this norm was highly contested and founded in
concepts that today seem socially unacceptable and alienating, seminal
works dealing with eighteenth century families – including works by
Lawrence Stone, Niklas Luhmann, Carol Pateman, James Traer, Isabel Hull,
and Nancy Cott to name only a few – make clear just how problematic and
challenging this genealogy can be. We call for papers exploring a queer
perspective on this body of work. Specifically, we invite papers examining
how this "norm" of the heterosexual nuclear family was informed by what we
now call queer perspectives on the family. This could encompass research
into eighteenth-century institutions of family and marriage, kinship
structures, sexual practices and behaviors, and ideals or practices of
intimacy and friendship. How do prohibitions on sodomy, masturbation,
prostitution and pornography help define sexual morality and its
confinement within marriage? How do queer identities such as mollies in
England inform changing notions about gender identity, both socially and
biologically? To what extent do extra-familial discourses of friendship,
fraternity, sisterhood, or feminism provide the foundation for new ideals
of familial intimacy, both between spouses as well as between parents and
children? How do queer relationships challenge notions of the family as
the most "natural" unit of society, be it in Christian traditions of
natural law or as the precondition for liberal fictions of a social
contract? We are particularly interested in papers that attempt to
synthesize the increasingly large body of “queer” work on the eighteenth
century in light of these questions about the family.

Please send a 300 word abstract, and a CV to both Michael Taylor
( and Kristi Krumnow ( by
August 31, 2008.

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Received on Thu Jul 17 2008 - 15:08:24 EDT

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