Taking Liberties: Sex, Pleasure, Coercion (Event)

A pity. This looks like it is going to be a good conference…but there are only so many conferences i can get round to attending. Still, for those interested by the question of whether we have possibly “gone too far” with our liberalisation of arts and the media, this could be thought-provoking.

Jane

15-17 June 2012, Newcastle University

From the publication of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748) to D.H.Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), literature has imaginatively exploited the relationship between freedom, coercion and sexual pleasure, constantly pushing at the boundaries of what it is permissible to describe, represent and perform. At the same time, the history of print, film and theatre censorship has been told as a story of progressive unshackling from constraint. In this narrative, these ever-widening freedoms and challenges have been understood as positively beneficial to individuals and to societies. Yet the idea of sexual liberty as an unqualified good has increasingly come under scrutiny, giving way to the realization that freedom from sexual constraint can sometimes mean imprisonment in new and alternate structures of power, frustration and denial. This international, multidisciplinary conference seeks to complicate and enrich our understanding of the relation between sex, pleasure and coercion in a liberal context. It will explore the many ways in which literary and visual texts and performances can be understood to create, reinforce, question and/or dissolve these structures, as well as interrogate the complicity of publishing and the law in their framing and dismantling.

Key conference questions are:

* How are the complex relations between sexual licence, pleasure and coercion understood, represented and negotiated during the long nineteenth century?
* How did censorship and obscenity laws shape the literary/cinematic/theatrical landscape?
* How were sexually controversial texts – from erotica to triple-decker novels, from peep-shows to West-End theatre – produced, circulated, preserved and consumed?

The conference organisers are interested in literary and visual texts/performances from across the cultural spectrum. They welcome papers from English, Drama, Film & Visual Culture, History, Law, Modern Languages, Sociology and Geography.

Keynote Speakers:

Helen Berry (Newcastle University) on Sex, Marriage and the Castrato
Joseph Bristow (UCLA) on Oscar Wilde’s Sexual Practices
Cora Kaplan (Queen Mary, University of London) on Rape, Representation and Slavery
Richard C. Sha (American University) on Romanticism and the Paradoxes of Free Love

Possible topics include:

* Sex, Sexuality and the Law
* Gender and the Law
* Obscenity/Pornography
* Censorship
* Rakes/Dandies/Mollies
* Prostitutes/Madams/Pimps
* Rape/Sexual Violence
* Sex on Stage/Screen
* Sex Manuals/Diaries
* ‘Lewd’ Behaviour
* The Politics of Pleasure
* Flirtation, Seduction, Exploitation
* Corrupting the Innocent
* Voyeurism/Striptease/Burlesque
* ‘Dirty’ Books
* Bowdlerization
* Advertising Sex/Abortion/Contraception
* Sexual Initiations
* Sadomasochism/Masters and Slaves
* Tyranny and Slavery

Proposals of up to 300 words should be emailed by 1 November 2011 to TakingLiberties@ncl.ac.uk. Other inquiries should be directed to Dr Ella Dzelzainis at ella.dzelzainis@ncl.ac.uk.

The conference is organized at Newcastle University by the Long Nineteenth Century Research Group (School of English), with the support of the Gender Research Group and the Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: