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Wolfenden50: Sex/Life/Politics in the British World 1945-1969

London, UK
28 - 30 June 2007

Call for Papers

Wolfenden50: Sex/Life/Politics in the British World 1945-1969
King's College, London, 28-30 June 2007

2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Wolfenden Report, a British government inquiry into homosexuality and prostitution which profoundly shaped public debate on the regulation of these sexualities (and others), both in Britain and beyond. Most famously, the Report recommended that homosexual acts between consenting adults in private ought not to be an offence and 2007 also marks the fortieth anniversary of the passage of this recommendation into law in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.

This seems like a suitable moment to look at the ways in which minority/deviant/ marginalised/vilified sexualities have been lived, understood, regulated and constructed in the post-War period, and to that end a conference is being held in London in July 2007.

Proposals for papers examining any aspects of this topic are sought.
Some of the areas likely to be of interest include:
  • the origins, development, spread and impact of sex-law reform politics and ideas
  • professional discourses (medical, legal, religious) around `minority sexualities'
  • literary and cultural representations of these sexualities
  • the politics of homosexuality, prostitution and other sexual `minorities' and `deviations'
  • the political and social activism, and the lived experience, of these groups and individuals
in the period between the end of the Second World War and the rise of liberationist politics in 1969-70.

The focus is on the British World, understood here as including, at minimum, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It may, depending on what work is being done elsewhere, include other parts of the Empire/Commonwealth.

Proposals offering either individual papers or panels on particular topics from established academics, postgraduates and independent scholars, are invited. Papers which offer comparative or transnational perspectives would be especially welcome.

Please email proposals for papers as soon as possible and no later than 28 February 2007 to . Proposals should include paper title, an abstract of 150-200 words and the name and contact details of the presenter(s). Inquires and requests for information may also be sent to this address.

In due course, further information will be added to the conference website www.wolfenden50.org

Last updated 19 December 2006