CFP: [18th] "Queer Perspectives on the Eighteenth-Century Family" (ASECS, 3/26-29 2009)6-29 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Thomas Taylor
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 â€" including works by Lawrence Stone, Niklas Luhmann, Carol Pateman, James Traer,
Isabel Hull, and Nancy Cott to name only a few â€" 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 Sun Jun 29 2008 - 02:16:20 EDT