INSEP2014 – Sexualities and Freedoms

14th – 16th July, 2014, Ghent University, Belgium
Hosted by CEVI – Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry

Download the INSEP2014 Conference Programme and Abstracts

Sexuality is a nexus in which opposing pressures and strivings clash. It is a field of unescapable contestation, caught between discipline and revolt, governance and unruliness. All societies confine it, while most individuals strive for freedoms and self-determination.

Regulatory, legal, aesthetic, and moral frameworks concerning sexuality lie at the heart  of all societies. They affect and structure what are considered permissible and non-permissible sexualities; they define and normalize accepted, ‘healthy’ and worthwhile forms of sexuality by setting these off against intolerable, deviant, perverse and pathological, and immoral sexualities. These frameworks are informed by values and norms, cultural backings, images of traditions and histories, and in turn reinforce these. But sexuality is a continuously changing and evolving domain, fuelled by, e.g., emancipatory movements, activism, politics, ethics, social, legal and cultural change, religion, modernisation and globalisation, and economic pressures and developments. It is a domain in which questions and issues of freedoms and liberties, justice and recognition are central. It is a vital aspect of self-determination, identity and well-being. These frameworks enable and disable our sexual freedoms and unfreedoms and provide the canvas against which the notion of sexual liberation and liberatory movements become meaningful. They promote, discourage, delineate and mould our individual sexual agency, identities, intimacies, choices and sexual possibilities.

The question then becomes: How should we frame and thematize sexual freedom? Who may make claims on which sexual freedoms? What are the limits of sexual freedoms? What is the relation between sexual freedom and liberation?  And what is the relation between freedom and liberties on the one hand and notions of ‘emancipation’, ‘progress’, ‘liberation’ and the like on the other?

For this conference we would like to focus on the dynamics, forms and contestations of sexual freedoms and unfreedoms, liberties and liberation ranging from the intimate and interpersonal, to the social and the national domain, and beyond: on a global scale.

The fourth international conference of INSEP welcomes papers, presentations and panels focusing on conceptual and theoretical debates, cultural and political analysis and empirical studies from which conceptual, ethical and political conclusions are drawn.

Possible Sub Themes

Whilst we welcome a wide and diverse range of papers focussed on the general conference theme, we are particularly keen to encourage submissions dealing with issues relating to sub-themes of particular interest.

  • Culture/Religion and Sexual Rights and Justice
  • Nations/Nationalisms and the Regulation of Sexualities
  • The ‘Sex Hierarchy’ – 30 years later
  • Progressive and Critical Appraisals of ‘Sexual Freedom’
  • Sexuality and Emancipation
  • Sexuality and Conservatism
  • Sexuality and (Neo-)Liberalism
  • The Limits of Sexual Freedom
  • Freedom and Consent
  • Sexuality and Responsibility
  • Feminist and other Liberatory Agendas Now
  • (Post)Feminist interpretations of Agency
  • Queer Deconstructions and Possibilities
  • Queer Ethics
  • Postcolonial Critiques and Racialized Sexuality
  • Global Sexual Agendas
  • Sexual Radicalism – Now and Then
  • ‘Sexual Politics’ – Then, Now and in the Future