CFP: Women and Sex in Colonial Settings (Queer History Conference, 2022)

Tugce Kayaal's picture

Women's relationships with their bodies, sexuality, and intimacies they engaged with became a regulatory space in colonial and post-colonial politics. As recent scholarship demonstrates, in their significant analysis of the politics of sexuality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, state politics surrounding gender and sexuality, female sexuality, in particular, were products of national or racial thoughts. Literature, newspapers, and state documents produced and circulated discourses around the "ideal woman," which aimed to tame and control female sexuality by establishing a notion of heterosexuality within a national and conjugal reproductive setting. Medical and literary intellectuals, for instance, articulated and circulated teachings through popular texts on how a "normal" and "healthy" woman could experience their sexuality. However, despite such attempts and interventions that aimed to contain and control women's sexualities and connections they have with their bodies, women from different age groups and sexual orientations created new notions of womanhood that did not fit into the established norms of colonial states and elites through their intimate and sexual interactions.

This panel aims to initiate a conversation on women and sex in various colonial settings in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By bringing together archival representations of the relationship between woman and sex, the panel will explore varying experiences of womanhood, body, and sex (defined in its broadest sense). I invite papers focusing on but not limited to the following themes:

  • Woman and sexual pleasure
  • Sexual health in medical and literary texts
  • Representations of body images and beauty
  • Female friendship and homoerotic intimacies
  • Marriage and sex
  • Sex work
  • Sexuality and age

Please send your abstract (300 words max.) to Tuğçe Kayaal ( by October, 29, Friday.

For further information on the conference: 

Categories: CFP