AC/CFP: Querying Surrealism / Queering Surrealism, “Surrealism Laid Bare,” Biennial Conference, 18th-20th June 2010

The Edward James Foundation, West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex

We are pleased to announce that the 5th International Symposium on Surrealism will be held the weekend of 18-20 June 2010 at West Dean College, near Chichester, England. The theme of this year’s Symposium will be an assessment of Surrealism’s claim to emancipate human desire. In an effort to present and disseminate the most up-to-date research in this field, we are initiating a “Call for Papers” from individuals interested in presenting new scholarship pertaining to issues of sexuality.

Whilst lavish attention has been bestowed upon the broad topic of eroticism, and questions of gender, Surrealist scholars have tended to shy away from the more contentious issue of non-normative sexuality.  Breton’s intolerance of homosexuality is well known. But what also demands to be recognised is the very considerable number of queer artists and writers, photographers, and filmmakers who were drawn to Surrealism. It is evident that, particularly as Surrealism moved away from France, it offered a milieu wherein a plurality of desires and identities could be affirmed. The issue of sexuality is relevant to Surrealism’s reception in England, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Australia, and elsewhere. Arguably, also, it is in work engaging a queer sensibility that some of the most radical legacies of Surrealism are to be found.

The “laying bare” of this last taboo is more than overdue. Proposals are invited from scholars of any career stage working on Surrealist literature, film, and art in relation to sexuality. We especially welcome papers that address Surrealism beyond the confines of Europe. As the conference will coincide with “Surreal Friends”, an exhibition of the work of Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester  (19 June – 12 September 2010) and Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich  (28 September – 12 December 2010), proposals that consider any of these artists from the vantage-point of gender and/or sexuality are encouraged. Additional topics may include: a re-evaluation of Surrealist precursors (Sade, Lautréamont, Rimbaud); queer legacies of Surrealism in film, literature, body or performance art; historiographical or theoretical issues, such as the relationship of Surrealism to feminism, psychoanalysis and queer theory.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae, may be submitted via e-mail, fax or post addressed to:

Dr Sharon-Michi Kusunoki, Director, Surrealism Laid Bare

127 West Dean

West Dean Estate


West Sussex

PO18 0RX

United Kingdom

Telephone and Fax: +44 (0) 1243 811571


Proposals for papers MUST be received by the deadline of 1 March 2010. Successful candidates will be notified by the end of March.

The conference is hosted by The Edward James Foundation with support from the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies which currently has an AHRC funded project on Surrealism and non-normative sexuality.

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