Persons and Sexualities


1. The Project: What is it About?
The project seeks to develop a space for discussion and debate about the interplay of identities, orientations, desires, pleasures, taboos, relations, behaviours and practices of sex and sexuality in a global context and across a range of critical, contextual and cultural perspectives. Exploring the relationship between sexuality and personhood, specifically, we seek to understand how sex and sexuality shape citizenship, belonging, identity, and expression. The project looks beyond social constructions and practices of gender, sex, and sexuality to focus on notions of embodiment. That is, what does it mean to embody sexuality? Our individual embodiment of sexuality at times replicates cultural expectations surrounding that particular sexuality or orientation, and at times departs from cultural expectations – both entrenching and forging new possibilities for understanding and living sexuality. Our sexual embodiment and citizenship (or lack thereof) occurs in the context of specific social spaces and social structures, such as gender, class, ability, race and ethnicity, et cetera.

We wish to approach persons and sexualities from a range of critical, contextual and cultural perspectives, and ask a range of broad questions: how do we understand the different desires and pleasures that people engage in, and by which they define who they are and how they interact with others? How do we conceive of and make sense of different sexualities beyond simple and often flawed notions of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ or ‘deviant’ or ‘perverse’? How do desires, identities, behaviours and practices interplay in sexual expressions in contemporary life? Which bodies are afforded the ‘right’ to be sexual, and to participate in sex? What challenging questions do we face in researching and theorising sexuality in the 21st Century?

2. Interdisciplinary: How is it?
The ethos of the project is to promote a genial exchange of ideas within and across a wide variety of disciplines. Inter-disciplinary projects expand the boundaries of disciplines, professions/vocations, cultures, and contexts to promote engagement, challenge perspectives, and provide new and novel possibilities for future development.

3. The Issues: What are They?

  • Being/Desiring/Doing – How do we understand the formation of sexual identities, expressions, and desires, and how are these performed within and across various cultural contexts?
  • Sexual and Embodied Practices – What is the relationship between sexuality and personhood? How do embodied practices of sex and sexuality shape sexual citizenship?
  • Sexual Time/Space – How do space and time affect sexual embodiment? How does this embodiment change across time and in different spaces?
  • (A)sexual Affect and Relationships – What is the role of affect and relationships on sexual embodiment and understandings of desire, sexual identity and expression?
  • Narrative, Aesthetic and Creative Representations of Sexuality – How do creative representations of sexuality influence sexual practices and embodiments?
  • (A)sexual Citizenship: Belonging and Activism – Who is permitted to participate in and shape cultural notions of sexual citizenship? Who belongs?
  • Uncomfortable Territories – Which sexual desires and practices are still ‘taboo,’ pathologized, or unnamed? Why? What benefits come from demystifying these territories and why are they still ‘uncomfortable’?

4. The Audience: Who Should get Involved?
Seeking to encourage innovative, creative, inter-, multi- and post-disciplinary dialogues, we welcome papers from all disciplines, professions and vocations that seek to understand what it is to be sexual and how sex and sexuality are negotiated and embodied. Participants should enthusiastically engage in critical dialogues about sexual embodiment and be prepared to challenge conventional assumptions and constructions of sexual personhood.

5. The Outcomes: What are the Goals?
The goals of the project are to expand conversations, thought, and research around sexual embodiment, citizenship, and norms; to engage critically with current constructions of sexual embodiment; and to promote inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary dialogues that can lead to new and novel conceptions of sexuality.