Framing Premodern Desires. Between Sexuality, Sin and Crime

Framing Premodern Desires. Between Sexuality, Sin and Crime

Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
University of Turku
Turku (Finland)
Vom - Bis
04.04.2014 - 05.04.2014
Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

CFP: An international colloquium
4-5 April 2014, Turku, Finland

Sexuality is inevitably closely linked with wellbeing, individual identity and the very beginning of life. In premodern cultures sexual desires were perceived, described and encountered in a variety of ways. The praise concerning procreation, as well as sexual acts within the frames of marital institutions and between the ones in love was very much present in the surviving sources. At the same time, sexual desires belonged to the most regulated areas of human behavior bridled by religious and legal authorities.

Recently, the scholarly field of the history of sexuality has laid a special emphasis on the multiple varieties in understanding past sexual desires in a particular time and place. We will focus on exploring the localities and temporalities of sexuality, the visibility and invisibility of sexual desires, as well as the intersections of sexuality and moral offences in late medieval and early modern societies (13th–18th centuries).

The colloquium seeks to deepen our understanding of the varieties of sexuality and sexual practices by bringing together experts in the disciplines of cultural, legal and medical history, as well as literature, languages, art, archaeology, and religion. We especially welcome multidisciplinary research approaches and studies emphasizing cross- and transcultural perspectives, as well as non-western histories of sexualities and moralities.

Confirmed Speakers:

- Faramerz Dabhoiwala (Oxford, UK)
- Jonas Liliequist (Umeå, Sweden)
- Garthine Walker (Cardiff UK)
- Dror Zeevi (Ben-Gurion University of Negev, Israel)

Call for Papers

The colloquium is open for scholars in all stages of academic life. Early career researchers are especially encouraged to send proposals. Papers may discuss but do not have to restrict themselves to the following themes:

- sexual practices, customs and manners
- sexual desire as sin or crime
- secular and religious policies towards immorality
- medical attitudes towards sexuality and health
- sexuality and gender in popular culture
- the materiality of sexuality and bodiliness

We look forward to receiving individual abstracts (max. 300 words) or suggestions for sessions of 3 - 4 papers by 30 June 2013. Proposals should be sent to

Proposals for papers of 20 minutes will be evaluated by the organizing committee and the approval will follow in August.

The conference language is English. Selected papers and lectures will be published after the conference. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the participants. A small colloquium fee will cover lunches and refreshments.

Organization committee: Meri Heinonen, Eva Johanna Holmberg, Marjo Kaartinen, Satu Lidman, Tom Linkinen, Kirsi Salonen, Mari Välimäki

On the behalf of the organizing committee,
Satu Lidman


For more information about the conference, contact

The conference web page will be opened in May:

Turku is the oldest town in Finland. By the river Aura you can sense the medieval atmosphere and visit interesting museums, shops and restaurants. To find out more about accommodation, transportation and the university, check out the links below:


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