GenSex: Gender and Sexuality Research Group

4th May 2011, 3:00pm - 6:00pm

Wilson Centre

GenSex – Edge Hill University’s Gender and Sexuality Research Group – is holding its next session on Wednesday 4th May 2011, from 3pm-6pm, in room W8 in the Wilson Centre at the Ormskirk Campus.

The Gender and Sexuality Research Group is an inter-disciplinary group which promotes research into gender and sexuality studies.

Pornographic Re-enactments of Nationality and Ethnicity,  Historicity and Citation

By Dr. Doris Allhutter (University of Vienna and Austrian Academy of Sciences) and Dr Klara Arnberg (Umeå University, Sweden).

This workshop deals with the interplay between notions of nationality, gender, sexuality and ethnicity/race in pornographic representations and raises the question of the role of pornography in national identity construction and vice versa. Topoi of nationality are articulated in pornography in a variety of ways and we thus want to discuss how they have invaded the sexual imaginary.

Since the 1960s, pornography has continually proliferated into various genres. Even if nationality and ethnicity were present in earlier pornographic products, the rise of a more international market made sexualisation of national origin a special kind of marketing tool. In our presentation we discuss how nationality and ethnicity have been constructed in two genres of pornographic representation and we examine the examples’ intertextuality.

The first example stems from Sweden in the 1960s when the pornographic press grew almost explosively. Since other countries still had restrictive legislation on pornography, Swedish porn became popular when smuggled abroad or sold to tourists visiting for example Stockholm. In the presentation, ‘Private’, one of the most popular magazines, is analyzed to trace the image of pornographic gendered Swedishness.

The second example deals with the construction of computer-generated porn, such as 3D models and animations. Designers of these pornographic computer applications are, on the one hand, guided by historically and culturally grown genre conventions of photo- and film-pornography. On the other hand, they draw on everyday discourses of sexuality and difference. In this process, strategies of ethnizisation and nationalistic imaginaries are encoded in order to construct intelligible human-like bodies and sexual interactions.

An Object Performing Life: The Body in Film Viewership

By Dr. Elke Weissmann and Rosa Fong (Edge Hill University).

Feminist film criticism has emphasised the centrality of the female body as object in film which is opposed to an apparently disembodied experience of viewing the film (as voyeur in a darkened and soundproofed cinema; Mulvey 1975, de Lauretis 1987).

This paper argues that if narrative is constructed in the reading process (Barthes 1977), the body of woman can appear not only as a site of male sexual desire, but also as site for women to share lived experience. Drawing on the work of Marks (2000) and Sobchack (2004) in relation to film and theoretical engagements with the embodied experience of gallery visits (Joy and Sherry 2003), we will draw attention to how film – in its diverse viewing spaces – can allow for a fundamentally embodied engagement in which the body on screen appears as troublingly similar to the body that views.

We will examine in particular how this relationship between viewed and viewing body can be exploited for a feminist intervention in a discourse about ‘real women’ which so far have been defined by the shape of their bodies rather than by the narratives that are experienced by these bodies.

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Doris Allhutter is a PhD in Political Science (2007), lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Vienna and researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Klara Arnberg is a PhD in Economic History (2010) teacher and researcher at the department of Economic History, Umeå University, Sweden.

Rosa Fong is a filmmaker and Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University. Her films have won awards from the British Film Institute and Arts Council of England and she has directed programmes for both the BBC and Channel 4. Her practice-led research explores transcultural identities and narrative structures and she has lectured on these at London University Birkbeck, the Victoria and Albert Museum and at national conferences.

Elke Weissmann
holds a PhD in Television Studies from Glasgow University. She has previously investigated the relationship of embodied spectatorship in relation to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She is a lecturer in Film and Television at Edge Hill University, and vice-chair of the television sub-section of ECREA.

Contact Details

Would you like to give a paper to GenSex or lead us in a workshop or seminar? Interdisciplinary research-based debates, presentations and art installations are always welcome.

Topics can include masculinities, feminisms, gender theories, queer studies, sexuality and subversion, bodily narratives and transgendered identities – just contact Dr Mari Hughes-Edwards by emailing