CFP: Sexual Values in the Nordics and Beyond

January 17th 2025 at the University of Turku, Turku, Finland

As a part of the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS) and following on from the framework research project ‘Vice and Virtue in the Nordic and Germanic Countries’, this workshop will look at the question of sexual values in the Nordic countries and beyond.

The provocative idea of ‘sexual values’ evokes questions related to ethics, philosophy, economics, representation, culture, politics and norms. Asking about the value of sexuality might appear analogous to exposing an intimate practice. Exploring further, it contributes to a critical approach to the normative constructs and axiologies that are generally accepted or essentialised, because they are often not made explicit. Moreover, problematising sexual values leads us to, first and foremost, confront the hierarchy of the sexes imposed by the patriarchal structure of our societies. From a kiss on screen to ways of talking about sex to sex work all assign different values which may be problematised and analysed: Who decides the value of a sexual act and how? Can sexuality be seen as the fulfillment of an obligation? Why is it possible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation? Who and what decides how we should talk about sex and to whom?

To provide a framework for such questions, we have chosen to limit the workshop’s themes to the modern and contemporary period (19th century up to the present day) and to Northern Europe. As it stands, this allows us to focus on the question of ‘sexual value’ in Nordic societies. As the second part of the subtitle suggests, however, this framework is to be understood permissively as welcoming broader transnational comparative perspectives as well. Considering ‘sexual values’ as not pre- determined and inviting participants to reflect on these concepts, we hope to weave connections between disciplines and contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between sexualities, practices, representations and imaginaries in the Nordic societies and beyond.

The conference seeks presentations in humanities and social sciences on any (but not limited to) of the following themes:

Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality       
Media representations of ‘sexual values’     
Ethics and politics of ‘sexual values’           
Sex and Health          
Sexual minorities

Abstract Requirements: 250 words and a brief bio-note (150 words) by 1st September 2024 to, and Applicants will be notified by 1 October. For any queries, please contact the conference organisers. Coffee, lunch and dinner will be provided for all the presenters, but travel and accommodation are at the participants’ expense.