Special Issue of Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies
Deadline (EXTENDED): June 1, 2020
Synoptique is inviting submissions for an upcoming special issue entitled “Porn and Its Uses.” Responding to the genre’s marginal status in the academy and beyond, this special issue seeks to explore how pornography can be (re)framed as useful—pedagogically, politically, aesthetically, and libidinally. Broadly framed, this may refer to pornography as both a difficult object of interest and as a method for critically analyzing the most pressing questions in our current moment.
Pioneering explorations of the genre within academia have treated pornography as a vibrant cinematic institution (Lesage, “Women and Pornography,” 1981), an oppositional grass-roots practice (Waugh, “Men’s Pornography, Gay vs. Straight,” 1985) and an instrument to gauge the organization of pleasure and control (Linda Williams, Hard Core, 1989). In 1996, an issue of Jump Cut dedicated a special section to the study of pornography. This seminal publication, edited by Chuck Kleinhans, curated articles, conference reports and even a sample syllabus in order to reframe the genre as a tool for analyzing issues of censorship, national cultures, gender and race. This issue of Synoptique seeks to recapture that intellectual impulse in the wake of recent academic forays that have placed pornography in the context of labour (Heather Berg), affect (Susanna Paasonen) and critical race studies (Mireille Miller-Young), among others.
The theme of this special issue cheekily gestures towards the serviceability of the genre beyond (but certainly not excluding) the happy ending broadly associated with porn. The titular “uses” of pornography expand on a key intervention from Haidee Wasson and Charles Acland’s introduction to Useful Cinema to ask how porn, broadly defined, maintains the “ability to transform unlikely spaces, convey ideas, convince individuals, and produce subjects in the service of public and private aims” (Acland and Wasson 2011, 2). As porn studies proliferates across numerous monographs and edited collections, university curricula, international conferences, podcasts, a dedicated scholarly journal and more, we are interested in porn’s usefulness while at the same time complicating and questioning the impetus to instrumentalize knowledge. How do we continue to shape a field that embraces knowledge traditionally deemed intellectually and morally suspect while responding to the porn industry’s political and economic stakes?
Under this broad inquiry, and abiding by the journal’s mandate to challenge traditional paradigms in media scholarship and publication, we are inviting scholars and practitioners alike to submit academic and creative pieces that testify to porn’s usefulness. In order for the journal to include the widest spectrum of voices possible, including those implicated in the industry, the editorial team will, under request, publish material anonymously or pseudonymously.
We are inviting submissions from scholars of all disciplines, on topics such as (but not limited to):
- pornography as visual, textual, and auditory genres
- historical approaches to pornography
- porn studies as academic field: methods, frameworks, ethics
- porn and/as pedagogy, in and out of the classroom
- porn studies and postcolonial and/or critical race theory
- porn as site of feminist, queer and trans interventions
- archives and material cultures of pornography
- pornification and the mainstreaming of pornography
- porn in the context of celebrity studies
- pornography’s audiences and fan cultures
- pornography's digital cultures and economies
- porn and sex work in legislative contexts
- anti-pornography discourses
Essays submitted for peer review should be approximately 5,500-7,500 words and must conform to the Chicago author-date style (17th ed.). All images must be accompanied by photo credits and captions.
We also warmly invite submissions to the review section, including conference or exhibition reports, book reviews, film festival reports, thought pieces and interviews related to the aforementioned topics. All non-peer reviewed articles should be a maximum of 2,500 words and include a bibliography following Chicago author-date style (17th ed.).
Creative works and interventions in the forms of digital video, still imagery, creative writing, and other multimedia forms are also welcome. These works will be hosted or embedded on the Synoptique website, and/or otherwise linked to in the PDF version of the journal. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions regarding your submission ideas for the non-peer reviewed section.
All submissions may be written in either French or English.
Please submit completed essays or reports to the Editorial Collective (email@example.com) and the issue guest editors Rebecca Holt (firstname.lastname@example.org), Darshana Sreedhar Mini (email@example.com), and Nikola Stepić (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 1. We will send notifications of acceptance by June 30.
Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies