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ANTHROPOLOGY-MATTERS  March 2010

ANTHROPOLOGY-MATTERS March 2010

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Subject:

CFP: AAA Beyond the Circularity of Sexual Diversity

From:

"Spronk, Rachel" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Spronk, Rachel

Date:

Mon, 1 Mar 2010 14:23:40 +0100

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text/plain

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Please circulate widely - with apologies for cross-posting:

 

 

Call For Papers For American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

New Orleans, November 17th- 21st 2010

 

Beyond The Circularity Of Sexual Diversity

 

Organizers: Lorraine Nencel (VU University Amsterdam)

& Rachel Spronk (University of Amsterdam)

 

  

In the past decades, the study of sexuality, whether that be
transgender, same-sex relations, sex work, sex tourism, or
heterosexuality, can be characterized as the study of diversity.
Frequently, studies on sexuality conclude that minority groups such as
transgender persons, concepts such as masculinity or transnational
relationships characterizing sex tourism can no longer be conceptualized
as singular, but must be understood in their plurality; heterogeneity is
dominant. Yet, this celebration of diversity has become predictable.
Research on sexuality moves circularly, starting from the assumption
that heterogeneity exists, followed by the deconstruction of hegemony,
and ending with the ethnographic explication of difference. Researching
sexuality from this point of departure is grounded in the
epistemological position of the deconstructionist paradigm, in which the
subject is studied in relation to normative structures and the effect is
analyzed in terms of antagonism, subordination or ambiguity. The subject
is reacting against hegemony, appropriating it or both. While there is
no denying the enormous contribution these studies have made in the
anthropology of sexualities, and in queer studies and feminist
anthropology in particular, this panel intends to go beyond the study of
diversity to contribute to theories that offer different approaches to
interpret sex, intimacy and identity. We call for papers which
critically consider the circular mode of studying sexuality and offer
alternatives. The panel will bring together researchers working in all
the different fields of the anthropology of sexualities, including (but
not exhaustively): same-sex relations, sex work, transgenderism, sex
tourism, or heterosexuality. In this way, it aims to create a unique
space for discussing across field boundaries in order to search for the
theoretical commonalities employed in our research.

 

Presenters will draw on their own ethnographic research to address one
or more or the following issues:

  

1. Reigniting the relationship between gender and sexuality: The
symbiotic relationship between sexuality and gender was severed in the
1980's, producing many studies that proved the necessity to study
sexuality independently from gender. Contemporarily, there is more and
more reason to find ways to reignite this relationship. It is a
virtually impossible task to study, for example, sex tourism without
analyzing the way sexuality and gender interconnectively configure in
individuals' subjectivities. This is not a plea to return to the pre
-1980's, but rather an opportunity to present research that offers
surprising insights into how individuals' sexual experiences are created
within this relationship.

 

2. Sexuality, embodiment and sensation: In the study of sexuality
in anthropology, the erotic and sensorial experiences are often
neglected, in favor of studying gender and identity. This is
significant, given that sex is mainly experienced through the body.
Nevertheless, in recent years, embodiment has become an important
analytical tool for looking at sexuality, and there are roughly two
perspectives: the semiotic/textual standpoint of the body as
representation and the phenomenological standpoint of the body as
being-in-the-world. The first perspective is dominant in the study of
sexuality as it provides a good starting point for the critical study of
power relations. We are concerned here with the second. This logic of
embodiment directs us to understanding how people exist through their
acts, affects, and emotions of sex, and to grasp the sensorial
experience of sex as constitutive to we are. How can the study of
pleasure and eroticism contribute to theories of sexuality? Can the
notion of embodied experience of sexuality throw new light onto the
relation between gender and identity?

 

3. Beyond dichotomies, ambivalences and intentionality: Much work
concerning sexuality and subjectivity struggles to understand the
motives of individuals' agency to uphold or accommodate hegemonic
discourses. These have shown how complicated and ambivalent complying
is, including actions ranging from passive acceptance to tacit
resistance. These types of actions are often theoretically juxtaposed,
creating dichotomous notions of sexual agency. In addition, their
ambivalent nature contains a high degree of intentionality and
reflexivity. This type of theoretical circularity, while tempting to
employ, predefines the way agency is interpreted, creating complex but
nevertheless standardized versions of sexuality and subjectivity. We are
looking for papers that resituate agency within processes of becoming
rather than being (dominated), whereby new ways to analyze subjectivity
and its relation to normative structures are a logical consequence.

 

To submit a paper for consideration, please send a 250- word abstract to
Lorraine Nencel at [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
AND Rachel Spronk at [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> by 15
March. Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

 

 
Rachel Spronk, PhD. * Department of Anthropology and Sociology /
Amsterdam School for Social Science Research (ASSR) * University of
Amsterdam * Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185 * 1012 DK Amsterdam * The
Netherlands * http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/r.spronk/
<blocked::http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/r.spronk/> * Co-editor
Etnofoor http://www.etnofoor.nl/ <blocked::http://www.etnofoor.nl/>
 

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