As a concept, metaphor, and sensation, ‘heat’ evokes some of the most urgent issues of the contemporary period. We are currently faced with the climate, energy, and cost-of-living crises, in which we inhabit the paradox of cold, unheated homes in an ever-warming global climate. Bound up with ecological and economic injustice, heat is unevenly distributed within society and across the planet. Heat is also something that we feel, on our skin and beneath it, as our bodies face illness and change: from fevers and flushes, to burning pain and blushing cheeks. It is equally an affective and sensory term that connotes love, sex, and anger. This particular triad of feminist concerns has renewed significance in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and undergirds current protest movements demanding access to healthcare, contraception, abortion, and safety for everyone, including non-binary and trans people.
In this series, the conceptual focus on heat brings together speakers whose research covers such topics as illness and ageing; sex and intimacy; protest and rage; and the global climate emergency. Our speakers explore contemporary women’s writing across languages and cultures, and work in and between such fields as feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; postcolonial studies; affect studies; and the medical and environmental humanities. The seminars in this series move between the cellular and the planetary, and the personal and the collective, asking how heat figures in contemporary literature by women from across the globe.
‘It’s Getting Hot in Here: On Sex, Pleasure, and Intimacy’
Johanna Montlouis-Gabriel (North Carolina State University): Pleasure at Her Leisure: Black Women Writing Sexual Desire
Dominique Carlini Versini (Durham University): Discovering Pleasure and the Boundless Body in Marie Darrieussecq’s Clèves (2011)
Jennifer Cooke (Loughborough University): Getting a Rise: Marie Calloway’s Audacity and the Sticky Issue of Literary Value
With a short introduction to book publishing by Polly Galis
Event date: 26 April 2023