XCircle_edu, An international network of young scholars of pornography – a community in which to share, support, and collaborate.

This new network might be of interest:

XCircle_edu is both an international academic network and a space in which young researchers of pornography can share, support, and collaborate.

As an academic researcher, you can often feel lonely, or intimidated by those with years of experience in the industry you are researching. Equally, young scholars face different obstacles to those who are already well-established in academia (note: ‘young’ doesn’t particularly relate to age, but to experience, i.e. BA/MA to less than 5 years after a PhD, as a rule of thumb). We need a space among ourselves – to cultivate our ideas, to develop our careers, and to offer peer-based support.

If you study alternative / ethical / DIY / marginalised / queer / feminist porn / post-porn or a closely related topic, or you research/analyse/write about pornography from a feminist and/or queer perspective, then you should find yourself at home among the members of this close-knit, but geographically distant, network.

Academia can be very competitive and elitist, to the detriment of many, but at XCircle_edu we want a supportive community – one of reciprocity that can be improved by everyone engaging and sharing with each other. We all contribute so that we can all benefit.

Aims of XCircle_edu:

  • support and encourage each other;
  • share valuable contacts;
  • share bibliographies and references;
  • suggest good working techniques and resources;
  • work together on papers, courses, and workshops;
  • organise conference panels together;
  • share lists of films, documentaries, videos, websites;
  • communicate often: via email, Skype, and a dedicated private forum;
  • proofread each others’ work;
  • offer different perspectives and suggest ideas;
  • discuss theories, methodologies, and ethics;
  • update a shared calendar of journal paper submission deadlines and upcoming conferences;
  • organise Skype conference calls;
  • and anything else we believe would be useful to advancing our knowledge.

Get all up in our Twitter@XCircle_edu

Youth Sexualities 18th October 2013, 09:30 to 16:45, St Aidan’s College, Durham University

A one-day conference in collaboration with the BSA Youth Study Group that seeks to explore the diversity and plurality of young people’s experiences of sexuality. 

Register: http://portal.britsoc.co.uk/public/event/eventBooking.aspx?id=EVT10294

BSA members: £10

Non-members: £20

Dr. Clarissa Smith, University of Sunderland, on young people’s porn consumption

Dr. Mark McCormack, Durham University, on heterosexual identities and bodily pleasure

Dr. Matthew Waites, University of Glasgow, on the age of consent in international contexts

 Chaired by Prof. Jo Phoenix, Durham University

Contact mark.mccormack@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

ESRC seminar series: Understanding the young sexual body

ESRC seminar poster-page-001The second seminar in the ESRC-funded seminar series “Understanding the young sexual body” is taking place next Friday 1 March at the University of Greenwich, entitled “The errant body”. It focusses on the challenges that arise in the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, and will explore the ways in which young people’s beliefs and attitudes, in a context of social and cultural change, may affect contraceptive and reproductive decisions.


The seminar series as a whole foregrounds the body whilst drawing upon cutting edge research on:

  • Young people’s sexual health
  • Sexual relations and relationships
  • Sexual subjectivities
  • Sexuality education.

It explores the role of media, popular culture, commerce and technologies in the construction of different understandings of the young sexual body.

The third seminar, “The invaded/invading body: putting culture and context centre stage” focusses on understanding young people’s experience of sexual violence, foregrounding culture, context and relationality. It will take place at Cardiff University on 5 July 2013.

The fourth seminar focusses on “The desiring body” and will take place at the Institute of Education on 8 November 2013.

You can find more details and book a place for upcoming seminars at the website: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/health/about/events/esrc

Call for Papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013, London 28-30 August 2013

Bridging the divide: Researching children/ young people and sexuality

Sponsored by the Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group


Joe Hall (University of Hull)

Nelly Ali (Birkbeck)

The sub-fields of children’s and youth geographies and geographies of sexualities often deal with intersecting themes that cross-cut the (seemingly) mutually exclusive nature of these fields. In our proposed sessions we aim to bring these themes to the forefront and bridge the divide between these geographical sub-fields by prompting a stimulating discussion between children’s and youth geographers (and scholars of childhood and youth more broadly) and researchers of sexuality. We hope this long overdue interaction will kick start a rich and rewarding dialogue that may continue for years to come.

We are seeking abstracts for a methodologically focused paper session that we hope will address the practical aspects of conducting research with children/ young people around issues of sexuality. This may include papers given by early career researchers who have, or are about to explore a topic of sexuality with children/ young people in contrasting socio-cultural contexts. It may also include papers by experienced researchers who may be able to offer insight and practical advice for conducting ethically sound research with various types of children/ young people. We also welcome papers that explore innovative approaches to data collection and analysis.

Please submit proposed titles and abstracts of not more than 250 words to Joe Hall (j.j.hall@2005.hull.ac.uk) and Nelly Ali (nelly.ali@gmail.com) by 8 February 2013.

We plan for the paper session to be followed by a panel session of invited speakers who will provide more opportunity for discussion and exploration of these themes.

Young Sexualities Postgraduate Conference 2013 – BOOKING NOW OPEN!

PG Conference Booking Form

Booking for our postgraduate conference at Cardiff University is now open!  The link to download the form is above and you are welcome to post or email it back to us.  Places are limited so early booking is recommended.  Attendees will receive further details via email.

For further details about the event please click here.

Call for papers: Thymos special issue

Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies has released a call for papers for a special issue which will be of interest to many of our network:

For a 2013 special issue of Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies (Volume 7), we invite contributions to critical theory formation relevant to, or situated at, the young masculinities/young sexualities research juncture. Regular papers (7,000-9,000 words) are preferred, review essays or other formats will be considered too.

We are specifically interested in innovative, unorthodox, and/or cross-pollinating perspectives on gender/sex/sexuality/maturity rubrification as ongoing, but also increasingly ironic, exercise. Across social media culture, young masculinities (as young femininities) are increasingly on display. This impacts on body image, researchers find; but it also impacts on how to imagine bodiliness. Recent thematization of “sexualization” has gravitated onto girls, referring to the potentially ungenerous vista of postfeminism (analogous vistas may be emerging for men’s studies). Boys are said to present the missing link, or blind spot, in many related discussions–so how to think missing links and blind spots?

Call for Papers:       September 5, 2012
Proposals due:         December 31, 2012
Final drafts due:      February 15, 2013
Final revisions due: June 1, 2013
Publication:              June/July, 2013

For more information please click here.

Thymos is edited by Diederik Janssen, keynote speaker for the Young Sexualities Postgraduate Conference in January.  If you’d like to find out more information about the conference please go to our events page.

Teenagers taking SRE into their own hands

ImageAn excellent interview has been posted here on The Guardian today with Jarrett Chamberlin, an inspiring teenager from Bristol who volunteers with SHARP (Sexual Health Action: Real People) to answer younger teens’ questions about sex that they can’t or won’t discuss at school or home.   It’s wonderful to hear about this project as one issue that we are very concerned about here at Young Sexualities is the quality, politics, and availability of sex education guidance for both teachers and students (a key research topic in our work with the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cross Party Group on Sexualisation).

I found of particular interest the fact that SHARP are welcoming parents to their marquee as well:

For the first time this month we’ve got a space in the city centre where we’re putting up a huge marquee where people can come and ask us questions. This time, we’re aiming to reach parents too – we want to de-stigmatise those awkward conversations parents and children have about sex.  

It is unclear from The Guardian article or the flyer advertising the event (above – full size version here) whether children and teens are being invited to bring their parents along, or if parents would be welcomed unaccompanied.   Either way, this invitation to parents highlights the perceived increasing distance between parent-child knowledges and experiences of sexuality, and the discomfort felt by adults in addressing this issue.  This discomfort is surely not helped by the media (and, unfortunately, the government) sensationalising the sexualisation debates and using ‘lost innocence’ as a motivation for action. When we use this ‘innocence’ discourse we paint children and teens who hold (or want to hold) sexual knowledges as beyond innocence, as lost or corrupt and, therefore, to be feared.

To learn more about this topic I recommend the Gender and Education special issue on sexualisation, as well as a book I reviewed for it, The Importance of Being Innocent by Joanne Faulkner, which explores the adult obsession with childhood innocence.

In the meantime, we wish SHARP every success with their event and future activities.