Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sexing the Book

The English Graduate Students Association of McGill University is
pleased to announce its 15th annual Graduate Conference on Language
and Literature. This year’s conference is entitled “Sexing the Book:
Bodies, Texts, Practices.” The conference will be held in Montreal,
Canada on March 27-29th, 2009.

From Chaucer to Butler and beyond, writers, critics, and theorists of
English literature have been writing about sex in conventional as well
as controversial ways. The recent scholarly interest in sexual
practices and sex work has not only reemphasized the material nature
of sexual acts; it has also offered detailed and fascinating views of
human sexuality’s particular socio-historical forms. The study of sex
in literature contributes towards our understanding of the cultures in
which the texts we study are produced and consumed. It also raises
important questions about the nature of human inwardness and social
relationships, as well as aesthetic creation. How do literary
representations of sex reflect the socio-historical moment of a text’s
creation? How, if at all, can we distinguish between pornographic
texts and ‘literature’? How can we/do we read sexually-suggestive
lacunae in our texts? In what ways is the literary text itself a
sexualized body? What problems arise when discussing/representing a
physical act in the nonphysical medium of language? We invite and
encourage panels on writing of any genre or period, on a broad range
of topics relating to sexual practices and their representation(s) in

Possible topics might include:

Literary representations of sex work
Textual representations of sexual practices
Pornography as/and/vs. literature
Sex and technology
Sex and the spirit: sex and sin, religious ecstasy, libido
Sex and gender
Sexual spaces: brothels and bawdy houses, sex and/in the home, sex clubs
Sociology of sex: infidelity, monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, incest
and other taboos
Censorship and criminalization
Sex and health/disease
Critical theory on sex: feminist criticism, queer and gender studies,
power and discourse
Sexual metaphors of literary creativity

Please send panel proposals (300 words) via email to Emily at or to Sara at by
Friday, November 21st, 2008. Approved panels will then be posted on
the UPenn site by the beginning of December, along with a general call
for papers.


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