Sex in Translation: International Conference

deadline for submissions: 
December 8, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Will McMorran (QMUL)
contact email: 

Sex in Translation - International Conference, London, 4-5 July 2024

Writing about sex challenges and exposes the limits of what can and cannot be said in any given culture. It blurs the boundaries between different forms of discourse – literary, legal, social, medical, and philosophical. And, of course, it crosses boundaries too – of taste and class as well as of time and space. So how does sex translate from one language and culture to another? What does the translation, circulation and reception of sexual material, from pornographic novels to ars erotica and clinical textbooks, tell us about the ways we have thought, learned, and fantasized about sex?

This international conference will explore the ways in which sex has been translated from one culture to another, and welcome scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, including comparative literary studies, translation studies, book history, medical humanities and the social sciences. Contributions are welcome on literature and culture from around the world, and from any historical period, and we encourage proposals that are ambitious in scope, e.g. that explore a corpus rather than a single work.

Papers should touch on one or more of the following areas: 

· National and transnational networks of translators, publishers and/or readers

· The history of the (sex-)book

· The reception of erotica and sexology in translation

· Translating gender, gendering translation

· Trans and Translation

· Translating bodies

· Translation and affect

· Translation and transgression

· Obscenity and censorship

· Untranslatable sex

· Sexing translation

· Eroticism and exoticism

We welcome proposals (250 words max.) for papers and panels engaging with these themes. Abstracts with a short biographical note should be emailed to Will McMorran (QMUL) at and to Maddalena Italia (UCL) at The deadline for proposals is 8th December 2023.