Call for Papers
Socialism and Sexuality Seminar(2002)
“Sexuality and Millenialism"
Center for Millennial Studies
October 4, 2002
Created in 1997 by Francis Ronsin (University of Burgundy, Dijon) and other scholars associated with the Institute of Contemporary History (Dijon), the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam), and the Laboratory of Historical Demography of the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris), the Socialism and Sexuality seminar has presented a series of workshops designed to bring together scholars who are interested in exploring the sexual ideologies and programs of radical social movements.
The first workshop took place in Ghent in conjunction with the AMSAB’s conference on “Gender and Class” in April of 1999. The second workshop (“Free Love and the Labor Movement”) was hosted by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam in October of 2000. The third workshop (“Labor Organizations and Sexuality”) was held at the University of Burgundy in Dijon in October of 2001. Next year’s event (2003) will be sponsored by the University of Amsterdam.
This year, the fourth annual Socialism and Sexuality seminar will be hosted by the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, on Friday, October 4, 2002. The workshop will consist of 6 or 7 presenters, and will include time for questions and comments from the audience as well as for discussion among the panel members.
This year’s seminar—“Sexuality and Millennialism”—will explore the emergence and development of an enduring radical antinomian tradition that was based on, in Norman Cohn’s phrase, an “anarchic eroticism.” From the Brethren of the Free Spirit in the 12th century to the various counter-cultures that emerged in the last half of the 20th, a variety of socialists, anarchists, and secular and religious communitarians in Europe and the United States have supported the idea that the liberation of the body and its desires would lead to spiritual redemption and the regeneration of society. Unlike libertines, whose resistance to the moral laws of the church, state, and society promised only personal pleasure and self-exploration, these sexual radicals have instead argued that sexual freedom would inaugurate the millennium and create “a new heaven and a new earth.” In other words, not only would their sexual revolution create a new emotional and erotic dispensation, they insisted that the reeducation of desire would also serve as the catalytic agent for the creation of the utopian future they envisioned. This year’s seminar will explore the sexual politics of these movements—i.e., their ideas on the connection between sexual liberation, spiritual transformation, and the creation of the perfect society—and compare the ways in which they have changed over time and have varied from place to place.
The seminar encourages scholars from a variety of fields, including history, religious studies, sociology, literature, and anthropology, to submit paper proposals. If you would like to participate in the Socialism and Sexuality seminar for 2002, please send a brief summary of your paper topic (250 words) and a short c.v. to Richard Landes and Jesse Battan September 1, 2002.
Department of American Studies
California State University
Fullerton, CA 92834-6868
Center for Millennial Studies
704 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 205
Boston, MA 02215
Fax: 617-358-0225 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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