Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference The Persons and Sexualities Project

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Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference
The Persons and Sexualities Project

Thursday 24th September – Saturday 26th September 2015
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations:
How do we understand the different desires and pleasures that people engage in, and by which they define who they are and how they interact with others? Have the ways thorough which we label our 'difference' become cages, which stifle possibilities for existence? Can we move beyond the encumbering acronym LGBTQ*? As we embrace difference, do we inevitably have to adopt 'identitarian stances' that challenge Post-modernist, Post-structuralist Queer Theory's insights on the 'layered self'? Is it time to rethink how Social movements on sexuality, specifically problematizing their hegemonic homonormative strategies? Is it possible to avoid strategic directions that only elevate a selected few, while further marginalizing others in the process? How do we contrast assimilationist strategies of acceptance and respectability via homonormativity with the embracing of difference? And what happens when we place these movements in a global context, across international divides? How do Sexuality Studies inform political debates internationally, at once building 'sameness' and forging 'difference'? Finally, can we bridge the ever increasing gap between scholarship and practice, and effectively transforming bodies of evidence into meaningful clinical practice?

The project seeks to develop a space for discussion and debate about the interplay of identities, orientations, desires, pleasures, taboos, relations, behaviours and practices of sex and sexuality in a global context and across a range of critical, contextual and cultural perspectives. Seeking to encourage innovative, creative, inter, multi and post disciplinary dialogues, we welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations which struggle to understand what it is to be sexual and how sex and sexuality are negotiated and lived. We particularly welcome papers that explore the creative spaces where biology, sexology, psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, arts and humanities, philosophy and contemporary theories and critiques – social constructionism, queer theory, crip theory and affect theory – collide, oppose, conjoin and intermesh, bringing one another to fruitful crisis.

We welcome traditional papers, panels, workshop proposals and other forms of performance – recognising that different disciplines express themselves in different mediums and seek submissions on any of the following themes:

1. Being/Desiring/Doing:
– Homogeneity and heterogeneity, sameness and diversity, identity and fluid sexualities.
– Theories on sexuality – merging social constructionism, queer theory, crip theory and affect theory.
– Trans issues, unfixed sexualities, fluid identities; a sexual ethics for our times.
– What are the limits and scope to defining ourselves in social spaces through our desires? Has homophobia been eradicated? Does it still need a social space to create modern narratives?
– Acts and interactions; representations and symbols.

2. Sexual and Embodied Practices:
– Embodiment, bodies and mapping desires in flesh.
– Sex as economic, social and symbolic capital.
– Bonds of lust and desire; unleashing and containing; unlocking and repressing.
– Body rituals and exchange: aesthetics, explorations, games, representations.
– Persons re-inventing their bodies, desires and lust.
– Consumption and consumerism: sex for purchase, sex work, sex toys.

3. Sexual Space/ Sexual Time:
– The public and the private: linking social and intimate identities and sexuality.
– Hooking-up, casual sex, one-night stands; sex with strangers.
– Sex as currency for blackmail: revenge porn
– 'Mythological' sexy bits and occurrences: elusive g-spots and ejaculatory 'rights'… Who squirts? Whose cum?
– The perfect body and medical interventions
– Local sexualities, international sexualities; sexual tourism.
– Pre-modern, modern and postmodern sexualities and their expressions.
– Old tech, new tech, new sex? Phone sex, cyber-sex, web sex and virtual sex.
– Amateur pornography

4. Sexual Affect and Relationships:
– Sexual relationships beyond heteronormative dyadic directives: negotiating relationships that 'have no name'.
– Representation: how do people grapple with the public images and imageries of their practices? What gets internalised and what gets rejected?
– The entanglements of romance and desire, sex and social relations, love and pleasure.
– Norms that rule our sexual lives; the death or killing of desire and lust.
– The meaning of sexual relationships: commitment, respect, exchange, use.
– Isolation, loneliness, estrangement and sexual deprivation
– LATs ('living apart together') and 'virtual only' relationships.
– Pleasures of the self; masturbation as detached sex?
– Detachment and the destruction of trust; betrayal, cheating and infidelity.
– Separation, mourning and bereavement; unlinking, unloving and unsexing.

5. Narrative, Aesthetic and Creative Representations of Sexuality:
– The theatre of sex and sexual beings; sex on stage and on the stage of life.
– The secular and the religious; the heretical and the sacred and their place in our desires.
– Dreams, fantasies and desire; symbols, meaning and the unconscious.
– Unfixing sexual categories of the self through art and artistic creation and narratives.
– The grammar of lust and desire in artistic creation and representation.
– Pornography and the erotic: artistic representation, aesthetic and creative virtue, narrative displacement?
– Is there a creation of new sexual territories by way of art and the aesthetic realm?

6. Sexual Citizenship: Belonging and Activism:
– Disability and sexuality
– The role of Education as an Institution for building sameness or forging difference
– Sexual diversity – scope and limits?
– Sex, health and safety and the impact of technologies and medicine.
– New sexual expertise, changing understandings of the sexual?
– Inequality, power relations, domination and sexuality.
– Sexual activism in an age of political apathy
– Normalisation and the good sexual citizen; dissidence and the refusal to comply.
– Social movements and their impact on rights and institutional change.
– Sexual freedom, personhood, resistance and rebellion.

7. Uncomfortable Territories:
– Violence and sex; sexual abuse; abjection and sexuality; subjection and the sexual self.
– Sex and animals, sex and pets; sex, desire and love across species boundaries.
– Family, blood bonds and sex within boundaries of kinship; desire, sex and incest.
– Sex games and sexual play that make people uncomfortable.
– Scatological desire and sex; death, lust and sex.
– Dislocated, homeless, disassociated, uprooted sex, desire and lust.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 5th June 2015. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 7th August 2015. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Sexualities 8 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Serena Petrella:
Rob Fisher:

The conference is part of the Gender and Sexuality programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.