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קול קורא // לכנס: תרבו(יו)ת פורנו עכשיו! [גוריציה 3/19] דדליין=3.12.18

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Porn Culture(s) Now!

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the 2019 edition of the Porn Studies section aims to שprovide an overview of contemporary pornographic cultures. During the past ten years the pornosphere has been transformed in many respects in terms of the methods of production and distribution, the forms of access, consumption and reception, as well as the ways in which pornography is understood and conceptualized in media and scholarly discourses. More specifically, the section will take into account three interrelated aspects:

1) Latest industrial developments
In the last few years, the pornographic industry seems to have, at least in part, overcome the crisis begun in 2006 and somehow related to the changes brought in the media landscape by the advent of web 2.0. The primary reason of this incipient pornographic “renaissance” lies in the fact that the main industrial competitors have been able to finally adjust their production and distribution practices to the logics of convergence. First of all, the porn industry has undergone a process of conglomeration not different from other creative industries: now a limited number of big companies own and control many different types of media outlets (such as websites, porn aggregators, as well as more “traditional” pornographic studios) according to the principles of horizontal integration. Secondly, the more up-to-date pornographic players have been able to incorporate their traditional “enemies” (namely, grassroots production and digital piracy), thus channelling them for corporate goals instead of just trying to compete with them on the same ground.

2) Mainstreaming
One of the most prominent aspects of this industrial and social
reconfiguration of the pornographic industry is its attempt to go
mainstream, i.e. to be perceived as an ordinary media player that works legitimately in the public sphere and contributes to the opening of a more general debate on the relationship between sexuality, leisure, identity and self-empowerment. In order to do so, many commercial producers have expressly embraced and appropriated some of the traditional cornerstone values of so-called alternative pornographies, such as inclusivity, sustainability, transparency, fair pay, and an overall enhancement of the ethical aspects of porn production. Moreover, in recent years pornography has developed a complex relationship with celebrity culture: while a small number of porn stars have successfully crossed the boundary of the public arena  for instance Stoya and Sasha Grey, or Rocco Siffredi, though limited to the Italian context), the recent involvement of Kanye West (as artistic director) in the first Pornhub Awards might pave the way to other unexpected evolutions.

3) Porn as institution
Closely related to this process is also the development of an
unprecedented understanding of pornography as a cultural institution. First of all, pornography has now become a legitimate (yet still controversial) object of study, both academic and critical in a broader sense, with courses on pornography and sexual cultures being taught in the US, UK and Europe; conferences dedicated to the topic all around the world; the launch of Routledge’s journal Porn Studies in 2014; and the emergence of a productive debate on sexual media in specialized magazines. Similarly, in more recent years increasing attention has been paid to pornography as cultural heritage: while a number of archives and film institutions are beginning to work on the preservation and restoration of sexually explicit materials, other forms of pornographic “memory” (such as oral histories and personal accounts) are collected and valorised in documentaries, web series, and online experiences such as The Rialto Report. And finally the exponential growth of festivals, exhibitions, and awards (both integral to the industry and independent) openly dedicated to pornography and erotica contribute to the creation of an aesthetic canon, as well as to the legitimization of pornography as a “form of art”.

We invite proposals that explore, but are not restricted to, the
following topics:

– MindGeek and other porn conglomerates
– Strategies of horizontal integration (i.e. relationship between
Pornhub and Brazzers)
– Repositioning of “traditional” pornographic studios
– Streaming, VOD, porn on television
– Pornhub and the other porn aggregators
– Incorporation of amateur practices in corporate enterprises
-Dis-intermediation, re-intermediation, new pro-am practices (i.e. the case of Modelhub)
– New frontiers of the vision (VR, Holographic Porn, etc.)
– Forms of white/pink washing
– Pornography and transparency (i.e. Pornhub Insights)
– Ethics and corporate porn
– Porn and celebrity cultures
– Pornographic fandoms
– Pornographic self-narratives (autobiographies, social media, etc.)
– Porn stars as sexperts and cultural intermediaries
– Porn in the academia
– Critical approaches to pornography
– Porn archives
– Pornography and film restoration
– Porn documentaries
– Forms of pornographic cinephilia and collection
– Porn festivals and exhibitions
– Porn awards (industry awards vs. “independent” awards, etc.)

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