An international conference organized by the Department of American Literature and Culture,
University of Opole, Poland.
April 8–9, 2019
In his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon distinguished several clear indicators that an imperial society is unravelling. Among such markers as economic inequality and conspicuous consumption, Gibbon designated obsession with sex as a warning sign revealed by history. Despite its past Puritan roots and repressed Victorian attitudes, America has, arguably, begun to indulge an obsession with sex on an unprecedented scale. It is estimated that 100 million Americans—one third of the population—watch pornography daily. 22% of viewers are under the age of eighteen. Courting this demographic, the website Pornhub has recently started offering college scholarships under its Pornhub Cares program. This development may prove a historical watershed, just as Fifty Shades of Grey and Kim Kardashian may capture the Zeitgeist of the early twenty-first century. Sex also dominates the American news cycle. Donald Trump’s infamous quote, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” was but a prelude to the #MeToo movement, Harvey Weinstein’s ignominious downfall, the president’s own troubles with adult actress Stormy Daniels, and the recent allegations leveled at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The topic of Sex in the States, in whatever form, now seems unavoidable. We could continue at length, but we would prefer to hear what you have to say…
Our conference provides a platform to reflect upon themes that address, but are not restricted to: Sex in American literature, film, music, popular culture, and the media Sex and language
Sex and technology
Taboos and legal impediments to sex; Miscegenation, interracial sex Changing attitudes to pornography
Sex among the young, middle-aged, and elderly
American sexual morality, hypocrisy, and double standards LBGTQ and gender issues Politics, power, empire, and sex
Sex and Native peoples
The #MeToo movement; sexual harassment,
Sex censorship and sexual repression in America
Violence and sex; Issues of consent and rape; Violence in pornography Sex and comedy; Sex and the Romance genre
American sex education, religious values, and abstinence programs Uniquely American perversions
For those scholars interested in participating:
Please send us an abstract (not exceeding 300 words, including the title, your professional affiliation, email address, phone number, and audio-video requirements) by January 31, 2019, to:
The language of the conference will be English. The time allotted for individual papers will be twenty minutes with an additional ten minutes for discussion.
The standard participation fee is PLN 425, or €100, and PLN 350 or €75 for postgraduate students. This fee includes conference proceedings, daytime refreshments, and a conference dinner. Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.
We plan to publish a volume of selected papers with an international publisher.
Dr hab. Tadeusz Lewandowski
Dr hab. Klara Smańko
Dr Sławomir Kuźnicki (Conference secretary)