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2. Workshop: Representations of Sexualities in Asian and European Cultures (June 8-9, 2009 at the IWH)

Following Teresa de Lauretis' assertion (Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film and Fiction, 1987) that “the representation of gender is its construction” we will discuss in this workshop a broad variety of representations related to the intersections of gender and sexuality in Asia and Europe. The focus will be on the role of media including art, both visual and performative, literature and music, in establishing sexual norms or challenges against the established sexual order. In exploring concepts, discourses and representations relating to normative and non-normative sexual practices, we highlight both the diversity of systems as well as the political and ideological encodings at play in the cultural construction of sexuality. While discussions may involve any time period, this workshop centres on time frames up to the onset of modernities. Topics to be addressed may include the following:

  • sexuality as a metaphor of cultural representation of the 'Self' and the 'Other'
  • the intersections between sexuality and religious practices
  • transformations of the gender divide and/or gender bending during and after colonial periods or intense negotiations with cultures other than one’s own.
  • correlations with other cultures and time periods concerning the material, the terminologies or issues you are dealing with
  • Would you agree that a transcultural analysis of sexualities in premodern cultures leads to fruitful results?


Keynote (Monday evening, June 8):

Joshua Mostow, University of British Columbia, Vancouver    

Talk: "National Erotics, Gender, and the Representation of Sexuality in Hei'an Japan"


Speakers (Tuesday, June 9):

Natalie Boymel Kampen, Barnard College, New York  
Talk: "Cucullati: Boys in the Hood"

Afsaneh Najmabadi, Harvard University, Boston  

Talk: "Genus of Sex or The Sexing of jins

Timon Screech, SOAS, London 

Talk: "Re-engaging with Shunga (erotica)"

Sanjay Srivastava, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
Talk: "Neighbourhood, City, Gated Community: On the Sexual Cultures of Indian 'Pornography'"

Paola Zamperini, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Talk: "A Family Romance. Incest and Filial Piety in Zhang Ailing's Xinjing"



Related Readings here
View the full Conference Programme
The precirculated Conference Papers are being presently prepared for publication
Conference Report (kindly prepared by Otilia Milutin, University of British Columbia)