Proposed special session for the Modern Language Association Annual Convention in Philadelphia, December 27-30, 2006:
Verbotene Liebe: Taboo Sexuality in Contemporary German Literature

This panel will explore various deployments of forbidden, illicit, and taboo sexuality in late 20th and 21st century literature. What are the aesthetic and cultural functions and consequences of literary representations of desires from outside what Gayle Rubin identifies as the "charmed circle" of "good, normal, natural, blessed sexuality"? What forms of sex still have the power to shock, offend, and/or titillate in the new millenium, and to what ends are these taboos being broken? We are particularly interested in exploring how postwar discourses of taboo sexuality (dominated by Cold War concerns and the construction of post-Nazi German identities) are being renegotiated in 21st century German culture, in which issues of German unification, European integration, globalization, and an increasingly precarious multiculturalism dominate political and cultural debate.

Potential topics might include:

* violated boundaries: cross-racial, cross-generational, transnational, transgender
* national couplings: sexuality and reunification
* memory cultures and forbidden mixtures: sexuality and the Holocaust
* capitalism and sexuality: pornography, prostitution
* literature and scandal: sexual panic in the global era
* intersections of cultural and sexual identity
Please e-mail 1-page (~250 words) abstracts to both Christopher Clark ([log in to unmask]) and Gary Schmidt ([log in to unmask]) by Monday, March 20, 2006.

Christopher Clark
Department of German
New York University
19 University Place, #328
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-998-7599
Fax: 212-995-4823
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