Discussing Sexuality in the Liberal Arts: To Clothe or Not to Clothe? Deadline September 30

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Earl Yarington/NeMLA
contact email: 

Abstract

The 47th NeMLA Convention in Hartford, Connecticut, March 17-20 2016

This panel addresses themes of sexual citizenship and sexual identity. Sex can be a form of play, of identity, of expression, of performance, and of reproduction, but not simply disordered in the traditional psychological sense of the word. Sharon Lamb, a leading researcher on sex education and a co-founder on sexualization research notes in her book Sex Education for Caring Schools that faculty in the Liberal Arts need to educate people about sexuality as well. All of us need to address sexuality in our own professions where sex appears on our own terms. Suggested themes are as follows:

· Sex can be a form of play, of identity, of expression, of performance, and of reproduction, but not simply disordered in the traditional psychological sense of the word. Even if "disordered," how does the character move beyond the disordered limitations of such a construct or limitation?

· What does the reader take away from the character's experience? Taboos, as disorders or unmentionables, also limit critical thought and can prevent discussion and even healing. They can inflate internal conflicts and escalate external ones. Where do we see these or do we see these in literature and sexuality?

· What about cross-gendering moments or cross-gender desire or play from hetero- or gay characters, or discussions of both fiction and non-fiction that compare so called normal characters with abnormal fantasies (paraphilia, for example) and how these fit into the larger landscape with a cultural saturation with sexual images but a fear of discussion about sexuality? Are we really saturated or is the visual a real representation of what most are envisioning in our minds?

Description

This panel is meant to represent cross-cultural perspectives dedicated to the study of human sexuality in the liberal arts in literature and visual arts in cooperation with the humanities and social sciences. Please submit a 200-word proposal that address the following. Which works that have been avoided in higher education or elsewhere because they are "too difficult" or "taboo" will be addressed? How do these works fit with sexual identity/struggle, sexual issues, dilemmas, or "disorders," and how do these works attempt to transcend them? Scholars from any discipline are welcome to apply, and papers on art, literature, popular culture, visual media, and a combination or related suggestions are welcome, as are papers about "transitioning" works that juxtapose childhood/adulthood in terms of sexuality/sexual identity.

Use this link to submit an abstract by September 30: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/submit.html