Call for Papers
In their first issue of the Porn Studies journal, Attwood and Smith (2014) argued that “mediated forms of sex have become more commonplace and commercial sex products, services and representations have become steadily more visible.” Nearly ten years later, in the wake of #MeToo, SESTA/FOSTA, the rise of abortion bans and the Gender Recognition Act Reform, discussions of the role of sex and people’s relationship to sex and sexual practices in our society have a new urgency both in the UK and beyond.
In this current climate, the many iterations of media have offered sex and sexuality increasing visibility, providing platforms to construct and express the body and its sexual practices. Yet, the arts and new media forms have also become a ground for a hostile discourse, sanitization and legal censorship towards sex and sexuality. Now we see this complex relationship play out in a way where freedom of sexual expression and complete body autonomy conflict with the policing and regulation of these media forms. Representations of sexual culture within media are now sites of enquiry, highlighting the social, cultural and political contexts that surround it.
Sex in Contemporary Media brings together interdisciplinary perspectives on both emerging and ongoing issues surrounding sex and media. The conference will be a free 3-day hybrid event, taking place from the 4 - 6 October 2023. The first two days of the conference will be held on Zoom. The final day will be held as a hybrid event at the University of Warwick, with the opportunity to also join via Zoom.
We invite scholars, researchers, artists, and activists engaging with media studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, law, social sciences and the arts to submit proposals. We also welcome and encourage proposals from artists, writers, media practitioners, sex workers and activists who encounter and engage with sex and issues around sexual practices in their work. The conference seeks to explore modern notions of sex and sexuality and the politics of their representations in various forms of media, including film, television, literature, music, social media, and more from both local and global perspectives. We encourage submissions from around the world and hope to create an international conversation which addresses various national and local contexts. We aim to foster an engaging and critical discussion surrounding the current discourse about sexuality, sex work, and the relationship between sexual practices and gender both within and beyond Academia. Topics might include but are not limited to:
Representations of sexuality and sexual practices in contemporary media.
The role of media in shaping sexual identities and practices both broadly and in particular national or local contexts.
The impact of digital media on sexual culture and practices.
The politics of sex work and its portrayal in media.
Representations of kink and sexual subcultures in media and other artistic practices.
The censorship and regulation of sexual content in media and other artistic practices.
The cultural and social significance of pornography in contemporary society.
The intersectionality of sexuality, gender, race, class and disability in relation to sexual practices.
The relationship between media representations of sex/sexuality and changes in law.
The role of art, literature and other creative forms in challenging and subverting dominant narratives of sexuality in media.
New frameworks, challenges and changes in discourses and approaches to sex in media from both a theoretical and a practical standpoint.
We welcome proposals for individual papers with theoretical, historical and practice-based approaches, as well as more non-conventional approaches to presentations to accommodate both academic and non-academic participants. If you have any queries about your presentation format, feel free to contact the organisers prior to the submission of your abstract.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
A Word document titled SCMC 2023 containing the title and abstract of no more than 300 words
A separate Word document containing a 100-word biography written in third person, including your research, institutional affiliation, and pronouns
Your preference for online or in-person participation
An outline of any additional technical requirements for a non-academic presentation
The deadline for submission is 4 June 2023. Presentations should be 15-20 minutes and each panel will be followed by a Q&A. We are interested in developing the conference into a book or a special issue – more details will follow on this after the conference.
We are able to offer seven bursaries of up to £60 to support self-funded students and/or participants without institutional support with travel costs for the in-person event at the University of Warwick on the 6 October. If you wish to apply for one of these bursaries, please confirm your self-funded status or line of work at the bottom of your abstract, along with a brief summary explaining why you require the support.
We will let you know the outcome of your application upon acceptance of your proposal.
This conference is an inclusive space towards minority groups and sex workers, and does not accept any discussions or submissions that are transphobic, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist, racist or xenophobic. It will be a pro-inclusive, safe space, not just for students or academics, but also other members/peers to engage with the topic.
This conference is made possible by the generous funding of Midlands4Cities.
Attwood, F. and Smith, C. (2014) ‘Porn Studies: An Introduction’, Porn Studies, 1 (1–2): 1–6