Composed between the sixth and ninth centuries, penitentials were little books of penance that address a wide range of human fallibility. But they are far more than mere registers of sin and penance: rather, by revealing the multiple contexts in which their authors anticipated various sins, they reveal much about the ways those authors and, presumably, their audiences understood a variety of social phenomena. Offering new, more accurate translations of the penitentials than what has previously been available, this book delves into the potentialities addressed in these manuals for clues about less tangible aspects of early medieval history, including the innocence and vulnerability of young children and the relationship between speech and culpability; the links between puberty, autonomy, and moral accountability; early medieval efforts to regulate sexual relationships; and much more.
In this bold new work of cultural criticism, Ann Cvetkovich develops a queer approach to trauma. She argues for the importance of recognizing—and archiving—accounts of trauma that belong as much to the ordinary and everyday as to the domain of catastrophe. An Archive of Feelings contends that the field of trauma studies, limited by too strict a division between the public and the private, has overlooked the experiences of women and queers. Rejecting the pathologizing understandings of trauma that permeate medical and clinical discourses on the subject, Cvetkovich develops instead a sex-positive approach missing even from most feminist work on trauma. She challenges the field to engage more fully with sexual trauma and the wide range of feelings in its vicinity, including those associated with butch-femme sex and aids activism and caretaking.
An Archive of Feelings brings together oral histories from lesbian activists involved in act up/New York; readings of literature by Dorothy Allison, Leslie Feinberg, Cherríe Moraga, and Shani Mootoo; videos by Jean Carlomusto and Pratibha Parmar; and performances by Lisa Kron, Carmelita Tropicana, and the bands Le Tigre and Tribe 8. Cvetkovich reveals how activism, performance, and literature give rise to public cultures that work through trauma and transform the conditions producing it. By looking closely at connections between sexuality, trauma, and the creation of lesbian public cultures, Cvetkovich makes those experiences that have been pushed to the peripheries of trauma culture the defining principles of a new construction of sexual trauma—one in which trauma catalyzes the creation of cultural archives and political communities.
In war films, the portrayal of deep friendships between men is commonplace. Given the sexually anxious nature of the American imagination, such bonds are often interpreted as carrying a homoerotic subtext. In Armed Forces , Robert Eberwein argues that an expanded conception of masculinity and sexuality is necessary in order to understand more fully the intricacy of these intense and emotional human relationships. Drawing on a range of examples from silent films such as What Price Glory and Wings to sound era works like The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Three Kings, and Pearl Harbor , he shows how close readings of war films, particularly in relation to their cultural contexts, demonstrate that depictions of heterosexual love, including those in romantic triangles, actually help to define and clarify the nonsexual nature of male love. The book also explores the problematic aspects of masculinity and sexuality when threatened by wounds, as in The Best Years of Our Lives, and considers the complex and persistent analogy between weapons and the male body, as in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan .
Through the twentieth century, from colonial Ireland to the United States, and from Franco's Spain to late Soviet Russia, to include sexuality in a novel signaled social progressiveness and artistic innovation, but also transgression. Certain novelists—such as James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Luis Martín-Santos, and Viktor Erofeev—radicalized the content of the novel by incorporating sexual thoughts, situations, and fantasies and thus portraying repressed areas of social, cultural, political, and mental life.
In The Artistic Censoring of Sexuality: Fantasy and Judgment in the Twentieth-Century Novel, Susan Mooney extensively examines four modernist and postmodernist novels that prompted in their day harsh external censorship because of their sexual content—Ulysses, Lolita, Time of Silence, and Russian Beauty. She shows how motifs of censorship, with all its restrictions, pressures, rules, judgments, and forms of negation, became artistically embedded in the novels' plots, characters, settings, tropes, and themes. These novels contest censorship's status quo and critically explore its processes and power. This study reveals the impact of censorship on literary creation, particularly in relation to the twentieth century's growing interest in sexuality and its discourses.
Challenging what she sees as an obsession with sex and sexuality, Ela Przybylo examines the silence around asexuality in queer, feminist, and lesbian thinking—turning to Audre Lorde’s work on erotics to propose instead an approach she calls asexualerotics, an alternative language for discussing forms of intimacy that are not reducible to sex and sexuality. Beginning with the late 1960s as a time when compulsory sexuality intensified and became increasingly tied to feminist, lesbian, and queer notions of empowerment, politics, and subjectivity, Przybylo looks to feminist political celibacy/asexuality, lesbian bed death, the asexual queer child, and the aging spinster as four figures that are asexually resonant and which benefit from an asexual reading—that is, from being read in an asexually affirming rather than asexually skeptical manner.
Through a wide-ranging analysis of pivotal queer, feminist, and anti-racist movements; television and film; art and photography; and fiction, nonfiction, and theoretical texts, each chapter explores asexual erotics and demonstrates how asexuality has been vital to the formulation of intimate ways of knowing and being. Asexual Erotics assembles a compendium of asexual possibilities that speaks against the centralization of sex and sexuality, asking that we consider the ways in which compulsory sexuality is detrimental not only to asexual and nonsexual people but to all.
The Asian Migrant’s Body: Emotion, Gender and Sexuality brings together papers that investigate the way Asian migrants experience, think about, perceive and utilize their bodies as part of the journeys they have embarked on. In exploring how bodies are physically and symbolically marked by migration experiences, this edited volume seeks to move beyond the immediate effects of hard labour and (potentially) exploitative or abusive situations. It shows that migrants are not only on the receiving end where it concerns their bodies, nor are their bodies only utilized for their work as migrants: they also seek control over their bodies and to make them part of strategies to express themselves. The collective papers in The Asian Migrant’s Body argue that the body itself is a primary site for understanding how migrants reflect on and experience their migration trajectories.