CFP #AAG2018. ‘Geographies of Sex, Sexuality and Sex Work: Myths, Imaginaries and Realities’. New Orleans, April 10-14 2018

 

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Paul Maginn, Erin Sanders-Mcdonagh and I are pleased to announce the call for papers for this year’s American Association of Geographers Conference in New Orleans in April next year (see more details here: http://www.aag.org/cs/events/event_detail?eventId=1258 ).  Although a geography conference, it is a very interdisciplinary event and we welcome submissions of abstracts from all perspectives on sex, sexuality and sex work.  We have run special sessions on these themes for the last few years at this conference and it is always a really engaging and enjoyable event.  We have also been fortunate in the past to secure some contributory funding for sex workers to attend and present from the conference enrichment fund, and would endeavour to do so again.

Do get in touch if you would like some clarification before submitting something.  The deadline is 16th October to submit an abstract.

 

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS CONFERENCE

NEW ORLEANS, 2018

#GEOSEX18 CALL FOR ABSTRACTS/PAPERS

 

Geographies of Sex, Sexuality and Sex Work:

Myths, Imaginaries and Realities

In the past decade questions about sex, sexuality and sex work have come to dominate media, political and social debates. These debates have seen the tectonic plates of ‘conservatism’ and ‘liberalism’ collide and sheer against one another. There is considerable variation in the dynamics of such relations across national and international boundaries. In the predominantly Catholic country of Ireland, for example, a referendum on marriage equality saw the LGBTQ community granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. In Northern Ireland (NI), however, the Protestant-dominated local Assembly has thus far steadfastly refused to pass legislation on marriage equality five times. The failure to pass this legislation has been due largely to opposition from the largest political party in NI –the Democratic Unionist Party – who has effectively vetoed the issue each time it has to a vote. And, in Australia the current Liberal Government has prevaricated on the issue of marriage equality by agreeing to hold a non-binding postal plebiscite on the issue rather than letting the Parliament decide on the issue.

On the matter of sex work, some nations – e.g. Canada, France, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – have recently introduced legislation that criminalises the purchase of commercial sex services in the name of protecting (female) sex workers and victims of human trafficking. This legislation was introduced in these jurisdictions following major campaigning by conservative politicians, religious organisations, NGOs and radical feminist organisations often working together. Relatedly, other state actors have sought to prohibit access to pornography by framing the consumption of adult entertainment as an issue that affects social and mental well-being. For example, participants at the 2016 Republican National Convention in the USA suggested that viewing pornography constituted a ‘public health crisis’. In the UK the government has recently sought to introduce age verification mechanisms and regulations in order to prevent people from viewing particular sexual acts online.

All the while, the consumption of online (heteronormative) pornography continues to grow year-on-year as data from one of the world’s largest free porn websites reveals each year. There is relatively little publicly available data on the consumption of non-heteronormative types of porn, although anecdotal evidence points to significant growth in “feminist-porn and alt-porn”. Camming has also becoming an increasingly popular mode of adult entertainment, with an estimated 20,000 performers online in the US at any given time. Even professional adult performers now engage in cam-work (and other forms of adult entertainment such as stripping and feature dancing) as a means of generating supplementary income due to the de-industrialisation of the porn industry in the wake of free online porn hosting sites. New and improved technologies have therefore created alternative possibilities for sex work landscapes.

Sexual and gender identity have also been the focus of much heated debate, especially in the last 5 years as debates about transgenderism have become more prominent. The increasing visibility/audibility of transgender people and issues related to trans rights have, in some cases, resulted in moral panics about trans people being in public spaces and using public facilities, especially toilets. Ultimately, trans folk have endured stigma and stereotypes because of their gendered/sexual identities and have been subject to discrimination and a denial of their human rights.

Advances in digital technology and the ‘app-ification’ of smart phones have had a profound impact on the socio-spatial dynamics of human sexuality and commericalised forms of sexual services. The emergence of dating websites, online escort agencies and personal ad sites, hook-up apps and web-camming for personal and commercial purposes have enhanced the opportunity for direct and indirect intimate and risqué experiences. Similarly, the rise of virtual reality, smart sex toys and sex robots have raised various questions about the future direction of human, gender and sexual relations.

In light of the highly complex and dynamic sexual landscapes that characterize the 21st century, this special session – #GeoSex18 – calls for papers that offer critical analyses on a range of myths, imaginaries and realities pertaining to sex, sexuality and sex work that speak to one or more of the following broad topics:

  • Community, diversity and mobility within the sex industry;
  • Community, diversity and mobility within the LGBT community;
  • Gender/sexual identities and fluidities;
  • Sexual dissidents, activism and advocacy;
  • Human trafficking/migrant sex workers;
  • Human and labour rights in sex work;
  • Gentrification and its impacts on queer spaces/red light districts;
  • Health and wellbeing amongst sexual minorities;
  • Stigma/stereotypes/social exclusion of sexual minorities and the sex industry;
  • Crime/violence towards sexual minorities and sex workers;
  • Production/distribution/consumption of pornography/adult entertainment;
  • Geographies of swinging/dogging/cruising;
  • Digital geographies of sex, sexuality and sex work;
  • Virtual reality, sexbots and human sexual relations;
  • Stigma and social exclusion of/in the sex industry;
  • Policing, criminal justice and sexed spaces;
  • Labour rights, health and safety issues within the sex industry;
  • Policy, politics and regulation of sexual landscapes;
  • Reproductive rights;
  • Liminal spaces/stigmatisation of sexuality, sex work and the sex industry;
  • BDSM/Kink/fetish spaces/communities; and
  • Censorship and sexualisation.

The #GeoSex18 special session series welcomes abstracts/papers from scholars, policy researchers within government agencies, consultancies, NGOs and sex work advocacy/support organisations and research-minded sex work activists from a range of disciplines and ideological/theoretical/methodological/empirical standpoints. If you are interested in taking part in this special session please send your abstract including: (i) paper title; (ii) author(s); (iii) institutional affiliation(s); (iv) email addresses; (v) a 250 word (maximum) abstract; and (vi) 5 key words to the co-convenors at GeoSex16@gmail.com by no later than 16th October 2017.

Co-Convenors:

 Dr Paul J. Maginn, University of Western Australia (Australia)

Dr. Emily Cooper, University of Central Lancashire (UK)

Dr. Erin Sanders-McDonagh, University of Kent (UK)

 

Erin also has a new book out this year, entitled Women And Sex Tourism Landscapes, published by Routledge, which may be of interest to potential presenters!   You can view the details here: https://www.routledge.com/Women-and-Sex-Tourism-Landscapes/Sanders-McDonagh/p/book/9781138814547 .

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CFP: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2015 – (De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space: Spatialisation, Politicisation and Regulation of Sex, Sexuality, Sex Work & Pornography

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I am very pleased to announce our call for papers for the AAG annual meeting 2015 (Chicago).

2015 Annual Meeting

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Chicago, April 21-25, 2015

Special Session – Call for Papers

(De)Sexualisation & (De)Pornification of Space: Spatialisation, Politicisation and Regulation of Sex, Sexuality, Sex Work & Pornography

Paul J. Maginn (The University of Western Australia, Australia), Emily Cooper (Lancaster University, UK) & Martin Zebracki (University of Leeds, UK)

This special session, which is sponsored by the Sexuality and Space Speciality Group of the AAG, invites abstracts/papers from contributors – academics, policymakers, sex workers and ‘sex industry’ advocates – conducting research focusing on the spatial, social, political, cultural, economic and regulatory contours surrounding sexuality, sex work and pornography.

Attwood et al (2013:1) have recently noted that ‘[o]ne of the key concerns within the wider anxiety about sexualization is that deviant, or abnormal, forms of sexuality and sexual practice are becoming “normalized”’. This echoes concerns about the mainstreaming of various forms of commercial sex; most notably, sex work/prostitution and pornography which can be found in a variety of physical and virtual spaces (Minichiello and Scott; 2014; McNair, 2012; Brents and Sanders, 2010; McNair 2006). Concerns about the normalization of deviant/abnormal sexual practices and commercialised forms of sex are largely a function of our social, cultural and political worlds being predominantly heteronormative in character (Hubbard, 2008; Doan, 2011). Relatedly, as Dabhiowala (2012:13) has highlighted in relation to the first sexual revolution during the 1600s, the Catholic and Protestant churches set about reforming sexual morals via ‘an intensification of Christian propaganda, and action, against fornication, adultery, prostitution, and sodomy’.

Moral panics have been an enduring facet of efforts to regulate sex, sexuality and sex work since the Victorian era (Hubbard, 2011; Weitzer 2005; Sullivan, 1997). Such moral panics have traditionally been instigated on the pretence that those directly engaged in supplying commercial sexual services (i.e. women) are in need of rescuing and that wider society needs to be protected from the supposed ‘contagious’, ‘corrupting’ and ‘criminalistic’ effects of particular sexual practices/groups.

The last decade has witnessed ‘a renewed moral panic and crusade’ (Maginn and Steinmetz, 2014) against sex work and pornography (Gira Grant, 2014; McNair, 2012). This new wave of moralism has been perpetuated by an interesting mix of actors – Christian organisations, women support groups and so-called anti-sex radical feminists – from seemingly opposing ends of the political spectrum. Resultantly, there have been concerted efforts in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, the EU and, more recently, Canada to introduce the ‘Swedish model’. This model seeks to not only regulate sex work but also prevent human trafficking, which is argued to be a major reason why so many women are engaged in sex work. However it is argued by some scholars and various sex worker organisations that this mode of regulation denies the existence of female agency; overlooks the diverse gendered, sexual and generational backgrounds of sex workers; fails to recognise sex work as a legitimate form of labour; and, effectively criminalises sex workers despite the focus on demand. Ultimately, it is claimed that the ‘Swedish model’ does more harm than good by driving sex work underground, thereby perpetuating myths, stereotypes and stigma about sex work and sex workers.

Similarly, there have been calls from within the feminist movement, political actors and NGOs for greater regulation of adult entertainment and pornography. Hubbard and Lister (2014), for example, note that. in relation to strip clubs/lap dance clubs in England, the Home Office (2010) introduced guidelines to complement the Policing and Crime Act 2009 so that local councils could exert greater regulatory authority over the number and geography of such venues. Stop Porn Culture, an international feminist anti-porn organisation, considers pornography to be ‘misogynistic both in its production and consumption’ and has set itself the goal of ‘ending industries of sexual exploitation’ (www.stoppornculture.org). And, in California, the epicenter of global porn production, LA County introduced legislation, Measure B, mandating that condoms must be worn during porn shoots. A similar bill, AB1576, with state-wide implications has recently been introduced. Various adult performers and producers have expressed concerns about these regulations arguing that they represent an attempt to eliminate the porn industry. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that rather than being killed off, the porn industry is simply relocating to other areas – e.g. Las Vegas, Miami and Arizona – with more liberal regulations.

Since the late 1980s, queer studies, inspired by feminist critiques of sexuality including pornography, have critically examined the lives and social encounters of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) in the context of their everyday sexual representations and the ensuing activism and alternative, more-than-sexual displays of citizenship and belonging (Attwood, 2002; Zebracki, 2014). These studies have focused on the fluidity and situatedness of the performed and negotiated identities of ‘sexual dissidents’, and the intersectionalities inherent in understanding sexed differences. Ultimately, they serve as a fruitful angle to deconstruct and reconsider the sexual politics encapsulated in the norms, values and legislative frameworks that have come to define hegemonic landscapes of the production and consumption of sex work and pornography.

In conclusion, despite the historical efforts to regulate, contain and even eliminate particular commercial sexual spaces, (consensual) sex practices, and/or minority sexual groups, these spaces and communities have endured and become an increasingly common feature of our cities and towns and given rise to highly complex, dynamic physical and virtual ‘(sub)urban sexscapes’ (Maginn and Steinmetz, 2014). This special session is about exploring and unravelling that dynamism and complexity.

In the pursuit of academic freedom and inclusiveness, the organisers are keen to encourage abstracts/papers from a range of disciplinary and ideological standpoints. Papers may be methodological, theoretical and/or empirical in their orientation and should focus on one (or more) of the following broad, but by no means definitive, topics:

  • The (de)sexualisation/(de)pornification of urban/rural/virtual spaces;
  • Sex work and pornography in interface with LGBT spaces and organising;
  • Kink spaces/communities involving bondage and discipline (BD), dominance and submission (DS), sadism and masochism (SM) (BDSM);
  • Gender, sexual and racial diversity in sex work and pornography;
  • The geography and regulation of sex work/prostitution, adult entertainment and pornography;
  • The economic geography of queerness, sex work and pornography;
  • Culture, meaning, symbolism, practice and performance in/of sexuality and sexual spaces;
  • (De)stigmatisation and inclusion/exclusion of sexual minorities;
  • Globalisation of commercial sex and sexual identities/communities;
  • Human trafficking, migrant sex workers and sexual mobilities;
  • Sex, sexuality and sexualisation in/of popular culture and the media;
  • ‘Deviant’ sex work and pornography beyond straight male markets – from heteronormative to homonormative sex work and porn spaces;
  • ‘Pro-sex’ and ‘anti-sex’ feminisms and masculinities in sex work and pornography

If you are interested in taking part in this special session, please send a 250-word abstract, including title, author(s), institutional affiliation(s), e-mail address(es) and 5 key words, to ALL special session co-organisers by 13 October 2014.

Selected contributors are asked to submit 200-word abstracts on the conference website by 5 November 2014. All presenters should settle the registration fee before they can submit abstracts.

Best wishes,

Assoc. Professor Paul J. Maginn (lead co-organiser) Paul.Maginn@uwa.edu.au

Dr Emily Cooper – E.Cooper2@lancaster.ac.uk 

Dr Martin Zebracki – M.M.Zebracki@leeds.ac.uk

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