• Recherche,

Axe 1 - Genre, sexualités

Vector 1: Gender, Sexualities

This vector focuses on the experience and representation of gender and sexualities across different time periods and cultures. For some time, French research has displayed a certain reticence about engaging in dialogue with fields of study that were largely developed in the English-speaking, even though often based on French theory, however gender and sexuality studies have renewed the perception of certain works and the approach to various periods of history, thereby making visible issues that had not previously been thought about. In particular, the deconstruction of binary oppositions which for a considerable time had structured our relation to the body, identity, desire, and the imagination — nature/culture, masculine/feminine, homosexuality/heterosexuality — made possible a denaturalization of gender and sexual norms that regulate social relations and the social order that structures them. By marshalling and exploiting various disciplinary approaches such as literary analysis, the history of ideas, and cultural studies, the goal now is to question the ways norms shape our imaginary and determine the social

practices in a given area while not always successfully masking completely the disturbance and "trouble" that surrounds them.

Situated at the intersection of several fields of research practised by different members of the IETT, the vector “Gender, Sexualities” is first of all a resolutely feminist perspective insofar as it constitutes a critique of the gender inequalities and sex-based discriminations. Although French feminist theory of the 1970s was generally limited to an essentialist vision of sexual difference, the near simultaneous emergence of studies of gender (Judith Butler, Gender Trouble, 1990) and queer theory (Eve K. Sedgwick, The Epistemology of the Closet, 1990) opened up a more complex and nuanced account of gender and sexualities. By questioning the hegemony enjoyed by the masculinity and heteronormativity in the social order, these disciplinary fields drew attention to the performative dimension of gender and sexuality that the previous naturalizing interpretations masked.

Alongside a history of women and femininities (notably the pioneering study of S. Gilbert and S. Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic, 1979), historians and sociologists have taken up the history of sexualities that were for long relegated to the margins (LGBTQI studies) and analysed the multitude of masculine identities that terms such as “patriarchy” and “phallocentrism” had until now kept hidden (M. Kimmel and Masculinity Studies). More recently, disciplinary fields such as Transgender Studies and Porn Studies have productively extended the exploration of new perspectives on issues of gender and sexualities. Although research undertaken in this vector is decidedly feminist, it also includes a radically queer component, in other words, to borrow the words of David Halperin, that which definitively breaks with the normal, the legitimate, and the dominant. Finally, this vector’s approach is intersectional (K. Crenshaw), in other words it regards any consideration of the question of gender and sexualities to be inseparable from notions of social class, age, and “race.”

This vector questions gendered constructions as well as relations between the sexes that cannot be dissociated from a reflection on sexualities. An analysis of normalizing discourses which traverse and regulate conduct, bodies, and imaginaries embraces both practices and representations, all the while shedding light on the relations of power that both underpin and envelope them, and that the relations of power in turn convey and reproduce.

The study of identities and sexual and gendered imaginaries allows one to uncover hegemonic norms and the epistemological "dispositifs" (Foucault) that regulate them, along with their conditions of production, in view of revealing their arbitrariness and upsetting the border between the categories of normal and abnormal. However, the point is also to take interest in all that goes unaccounted for in prescriptive discourses and hegemonic practices, thereby creating the possibility of a displacement of the norm.

Our fields of investigation are therefore multiple: women, feminisms, and femininities; men, masculinisms, and masculinities; LGBTQI*; (homo/hetero) sexualities. The transcultural and transtextual approach, which is the distinctive characteristic of our method, opens lines of research capable of enriching reflection, notably in the following crucial areas:
1) equality/inequalities, violence, discrimination;
2) sexuality (sexual imaginaries and practices), eroticism, pornography, desire, affects;
3) the family, filiation, parentality, health, and biopower.

Keywords: gender; sexuality; body; identity; queer; LGBTQI*; masculinity; feminism; homosexuality; heteronormativity

- Vecteur 1 - Genre, sexualités : Pierre-Antoine Pellerin (pierre-antoine.pellerin@univ-lyon3.fr)