Sexuality and the Working Classes

CFP: 38th ITH, Linz

Sexuality, the Working Classes and Labour Movements
Call for Papers

38th International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH)
Linz, Austria, September, 12 to 14, 2002

The International Conferences of Labour and Social History -- currently with 90 affiliated institutes -- have taken place every year since 1965. Their aim is international exchange and discussion of research on labour and other social movements. Conferences include researchers and research from Eastern and Western Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

The topics for the forthcoming conference are the discursive construction of sexuality, the definition and maintenance of social norms by dominant groups, and the resulting tensions in the everyday lives and practices of working people. Papers ought to address the complex relations between everyday sexual practice and the attempts to regulate and standardize them through law, sexual morals or ideological positions of labour organizations and groups claiming to represent the working class. The conference will cover the period from the end of the 19th century until the present.

Papers topics may include (but are not limited to) one or several of the following:

  • Working class sexuality caught between socio-economic restrictions and dominant morals, reception and acceptance of bourgeois models of and views on sexuality within organized labour
  • medical discourse on the working classes with respect to health, sexual behavior, hygiene and (veneral) disease (syphilis, Aids)
  • socialist thinkers on sexuality and the working class
  • socialist theorizing on sexuality
  • sexual policies of labour movements or socialist, communist and social democratic parties in government; and sexual policies within socialist countries (case studies)
  • marginalizing, pathologizing and sanctioning of various sexual practices (i. e. homosexuality, promiscuity)
  • reproduction, birth control, and abortion as demographic and social policy issues, applied sexual policies: sexual counseling, marriage consultation centers, nudism, and sexual reform movements

The conference's working languages are English, French, and German. Individual presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Travel expenses will be covered for those giving papers. Accommodations (at the Jaegermayrhof, which is close to the conference site) will be provided by the conference organizers.

Please send your proposal (including title, summary not exceeding 300 words, brief CV) by December 15, 2001 to Sonja Niederacher, e-mail

Street address:
Stiftung Bruno Kreisky Archiv
Rechte Wienzeile 97
1050 Wien / Vienna

The conference organizers plan to have decided on the submitted proposals by the end of January 2002.

Posted: 19 October 2001