Monday, May 17, 2010

CFP: Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives

Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives

"Asexual: a person who does not experience sexual attraction." This
definition is provided on the homepage of the Asexual Visibility and
Education Network (AVEN), a web community of nearly 30,000 members
worldwide that is generally considered the mouthpiece of the asexual
community. AVEN's political platform calls for the depathologization of
asexuality and the recognition of asexuality as a legitimate sexual
orientation, with AVEN working toward these goals through an engagement
with a variety of media – their website, blogs and discussion boards,
guest appearances on television talk shows, documentary film, and
participation in public events like Pride parades and public sex

The emergent academic discourse of asexuality has been primarily
concentrated in descriptive, qualitative studies in sociology and social
psychology (Boegart, Prause and Graham, Scherrer). While this type of
scholarship is useful and necessary, and as asexuality continues to gain
recognition, largely due to the efforts of AVEN, we are looking to broaden
the scope of the study of asexuality through critical engagement across
multiple fields and disciplines, including but not limited to cultural
studies, literary studies, science studies, history, and anthropology.  In
this interdisciplinary exploration of asexualities, we are particularly
seeking out papers that employ feminist and queer methods of analysis.

In a commentary forthcoming in Feminist Studies, we suggest that a
concentrated study of asexuality is most appropriately begun at the
cornerstones of feminist and queer studies, as asexuality challenges many
existing assumptions about gender and sexuality. In putting together an
anthology on asexualities, we are interested in pushing beyond descriptive
scientific analysis into new territory that explores the multiple ways of
being asexual and thinking about asexuality in connection to sex practice,
politics, gender, race, class, religion, location, and so on. We invite
scholars from across the disciplines to critically theorize asexuality in
relation to gender studies, sexuality studies, feminist studies, and queer
studies. How might we begin to analyze and contextualize a sexuality that
by its very definition undermines perhaps the most fundamental
contemporary assumption about human sexuality: that all people experience,
or should experience, sexual desire?  How do we understand asexuality as a
sexual orientation or sexual identity, and as a way of relating to others?
 How can we theorize asexuality in connection to race and/or class?  What
questions does asexuality raise for gender identities?  How might
asexuality conflict with or confront a sex-positive ethics? How do we
understand the rhetoric and politics of AVEN in connection to community
formations and activism around sexual identities?

With this project, we are interested in not only collecting but also
inciting scholarship on asexuality. Possible topics include but are by no
means limited to:

-asexuality and queerness
-asexuality and pro-sex feminism
-asexuality and disability
-asexuality and race
-asexuality and religion
-asexuality and virginity
-asexuality and celibacy
-asexuality and eating disorders
-asexuality and transgender, gender variant, or genderqueer identifications
-asexuality and kinship structures
-asexuality and love
-asexuality and biomedical and/or psychological discourses
-asexuality and the DSM
-asexuality and liberatory politics
-asexuality and neoliberalism
-the asexual community and online identity formation
-the asexual movement and the rhetoric of collective identity

Please submit a 300-500 word abstract or proposal by July 15, 2010 to
Karli June Cerankowski ( and Megan Milks
( Full drafts of essays will be due by November 15, 2010.

Lennard J. Davis
Distinguished Professor, College of Liberal  Arts and Sciences
Department of English
Department of Disability and Human Development
Department of Medical Education
Director, Project Biocultures

Mailing Address:
Department of English (MC 162)
University of Illinois at Chicago
601 South Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois
Office: UH 2020
Phone: 312 413 8910
Fax: 347-346-6619
Obsession: A History--website:
Go Ask Your Father--website:

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