Beyond Between Men: Homosociality Across Time
University of Oxford, Monday 19 June 2017
Since the publication of Eve Sedgwick’s groundbreaking 1985 work Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, ‘homosociality’ has become a regularly-used shorthand term for social bonds between persons of the same gender, and for the hegemonic norms that result from those social bonds. Despite this, academic discourse on homosociality in its historic context is surprisingly underdeveloped. Homosocial relationships and spaces do not just naturally manifest: they must be introduced, maintained, and developed in a variety of social contexts. That it is often assumed that homosociality simply ‘happens’ is a result of the internalisation of the cultural discourse that makes gender solidarity – in its most basic form, needing ‘girl time’ or ‘guy time’ – seem obvious and natural, when in fact promoting and maintaining (and in rarer contexts, deliberately dismantling) homosocial relationships and spaces requires sustained work on individual and collective levels. This one day symposium aims to bring together scholars of all periods of history and from different disciplines to discuss what homosociality means and what its study contributes to our understanding of the past.
Our plenary speaker is Dr David Clark, Associate Professor at the University of Leicester and author of the influential Between Medieval Men: Male Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature (2009).
We are seeking abstracts of approximately 100 words for papers of no more than twenty minutes in length. Submissions are sought from academics across the humanities and with any period of specialism from antiquity to the modern day. We intend that a selection of the conference papers will be published as a collection at a later date, though submitting your abstract does not commit you to this further project.
This conference is organised with the support of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford, TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), and the Leverhulme Trust. Please submit abstracts to, or make enquiries at, firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date for submission of abstracts is Monday 27 February.