Calendar

SEX/UALITY & SOURCES: NEW DIRECTIONS IN SEXUALITY, CIRCULATION, AND THE ARCHIVE IN AMERICAN STUDIES

 

From: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 04:30pm

To: Wednesday, February 19, 2020,

SPEAKERS AND AFFILIATIONS:

GRETA   LaFleur, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN STUDIES, YALE

NATASHA HURLEY, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton

 

 

Natasha Hurley will expand on her book Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel, foregrounding the ways in which many 19th century American authors represent what we now think of queerness as modes of located sociability, often in exotic locales. She argues that the circulation of these representations helps to generate a frame of reading reference helps make them intelligible in terms of sexuality as such. She investigates the ways in which the inner and psychic life of desire came to be understood and coded as foreign, pivoting then to the ways in which psychoanalysis became one place where sexuality as foreign body came to be both archived and disarticulated from the archives of outer worlds that arguable made the pairing of sexuality and/as foreign body logical to begin with.

Greta LaFleur asks, what constitutes evidence of sexual behavior, culture, or practices in periods before sexuality was understood as a category of human physical and psychic experience? This has proved a notoriously difficult question for historians of sexuality, who have looked to, among other places, court records, diaries, medical manuals, doctors’ notes, prison records, and social work archives, among other sources, for evidence of what sexual behavior meant or was understood to be in era before the emergence of sex as a discrete site of inquiry for the human sciences. In her talk, she will further complicate these already-challenging methodological and archival questions by discussing the problem of trying to better integrate histories of sexual violence into histories of sexuality. Sexual violence, historically and today, is frequently naturalized as a predictable feature of various kinds of encounters. This was no less true in early America, where sexual violence often structured encounters between unequally-situated historical actors: between enfranchised white men and white women, between enfranchised white people and enslaved and/or Black men and women, and between colonial administrators and settlers and Native people, especially Native women. Under British colonial North American criminal law, even consensual sex could include a significant degree of force, so not only recovering, but even merely identifying sexual violence in eighteenth-century archives of all kinds can be an extremely difficult project. Coupled with the fact that, as Saidiya Hartman, Marisa Fuentes, Jennifer Morgan, and other scholars have demonstrated, archives themselves are sites of power that stage the violences of historical, individual, and affective erasure, histories of sexual violence are perhaps even harder to reconstruct than histories of sexuality. This talk will describe the methodological, epistemological, and archives challenges she has encountered in developing the research for her  current book project, and will detail some of the approaches she has taken to addressing these challenges.

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

E Dean, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 443.832.9087

 

SPEAKER(S) BIO:

Greta LaFleur is Associate Professor of American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on early North American literary and cultural studies, the history of science, the history of race, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer studies. Her first book, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America  was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2018. She is also the editor (with Kyla Schuller) of a special issue of American​Quarterly, organized around the theme of “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas,” forthcoming in September 2019, and editor (with William Huntting Howell) of the first volume of the Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition series, forthcoming in 2021 with Cambridge University Press. Her writing has appeared in Early American LiteratureEarly American StudiesAmerican QuarterlyAmerican LiteratureCriticismThe New Republic, and on BLARBThe Blog of the Los Angeles Review of Books and Public Books. Her research has been supported by fellowships at the Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston, MA), the William Andrews Clark Library at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA), the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University (Providence, RI), and the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she is in residence as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, at Princeton University. She is also the recipient of a 2019-2020 ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Fellowship. 

Nat Hurley is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where she also currently serves as Senior Director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. She received her doctorate from Rutgers University, a MA from the University of Western Ontario, and her BA (Hon) from Mount St Vincent University. She is the author of Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel (University of Minnesota Press 2018) and the co-editor (with Steven Bruhm) of Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children (University of Minnesota Press 2004). Her current works-in-progress include a book project on childlessness and its relationship to children, provisionally titled Kidless Lit and an additional book project that develops a psychoanalytic approach to sexuality and children’s literature through the theories of Jean Laplanche. That project is titled Sexuality Afterwards: Children’s Literature as Enigmatic Signifier.

Sponsored by the Americanist Seminar of the CCA.

Location



, ,

Contact 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
Events sponsored by the Center for Cultural Analysis are free and open to the public, unless specifically noted

 

Events