Global Iberian Pornographies, 1492-1898

Zeb Tortorici's picture
Call for Publications
August 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Sexuality Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies

Call for Submissions


Global Iberian Pornographies, 1492-1898


We are currently seeking scholarly contributions for a collective edited volume that explores how the category of the pornographic can allow for a reimagining of explicit and, at times, “obscene” representations of bodies, desires, and spiritualities in early/modern Iberia (from approx. 1492-1898) and its global transoceanic imperial expansion. We invite proposals that imaginatively interrogate pornographic and erotic registers from diverse (inter)disciplinary vantages, including Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Disability Studies, Food Studies, Sound Studies, Visual Studies, Archival Theory, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Queer Studies, and Trans Studies, among other fields. We are especially interested in chapters that explore a range of topics including but not limited to the following interrogations:


  • How might early modern, late eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century colonial pornographies be theorized specifically in Iberia’s expanding imperial geographies across Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Americas? How might colonial bureaucracies, ideologies, and structures frame the obscene, the pornographic, and the erotic?


  • How have eroticized bodies and desires been constructed through a diversity of visual, historical, and literary sources and records—catechistic texts, confessional manuals, woodcuts and engravings, criminal and inquisitorial transcripts, dramaturgy, literary sources, material culture, and the like—from the early modern and colonial Iberian expansion?


  • How did the longue durée founding and construction of the Spanish and Portuguese overseas empires (and evangelization processes) in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and eventual imperial dissolutions in the nineteenth centuries, relate intimately to the production of explicit, corporeal, and even spiritual forms of knowledge about the bodies and desires of the purported subjects of political, judicial, and religious authorities?


  • How might theoretical lenses and methodological approaches attuned to the pornographic allow us to uncover and approach archives, sources, and texts in innovative and imaginative ways?  What new archives, sources, and texts might such methodologies attuned to the pornographic help us uncover?


  • How were the categories of the “pornographic” and the “obscene” translated and circulated across diverse languages temporalities, and territories? We are interested in moving beyond the Spanish and Portuguese languages, and welcome proposals that engage with all regional Iberian languages and dialects (including Arabic, aljamiado texts, Catalan, Euskera, Galician, Hebrew, Ladino, Latin, etc.), and especially with African languages and creolized languages in the Caribbean; indigenous languages of the Americas (including Mesoamerican languages, Andean languages, Tupi, Guarani, etc.); and Filipino languages (including Tagalog, Visayan languages, etc.). 


  • How did the invention of the daguerreotype and other photographic processes in the nineteenth century alter the scope and moral charge of the pornographic, as it related to question of race, gender, social class, and access to capital? How might the very authorities charged with suppressing pornographic materials be implicated in local and global circuits of production, distribution, and consumption?  How might the commercialization of erotica and pornography be implicated in imperial structures of power, negotiating tensions—and perhaps undermining divisions—between metropole and colony?  


Please send abstracts (250 words) and a 2-page CV to Nicholas R. Jones (Unuiversity of California, Davis:, Chad Leahy (University of Denver:, and Zeb Tortorici (New York University: by August 15, 2021. Decisions will be announced by September 15, 2021. Chapter submissions in English (5,000-7,000 words) should adhere to the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. Chapter submissions will be due January 15, 2022. We encourage co-authored submissions as well as submissions that engage with visual sources and images. Please note that an invitation from the coeditors to submit a full chapter is not a guarantee of publication, as all chapters, and the edited volume, will go through both internal and external peer review. Please circulate this CFP widely, and with scholars and colleagues who might be interested in participating.

Contact Info: 

Nicholas R. Jones, University of California, Davis (, Chad Leahy, University of Denver (, and Zeb Tortorici, New York University (

Contact Email: