Yul on preorder

Screenshot 2022-09-08 at 16.59.53Yul Brynner: Exoticism, Cosmopolitanism and Screen Masculinity is out end of March, and available now on pre-order (30% discount with the code NEW30).

304 pages, 35 b&w images, and an anal amount of historical print sources!

Yul Brynner’s star image was built on cosmopolitan flair, shifting tales of origin, baldness, as well as film roles as foreign rulers, freedom fighters, army officials, gunslingers and secret agents of ever-shifting ethnicities. Whether Cossacks, marauding pirate captains or cross-dressing torch singers, Brynner’s characters were invariably stand-outs.

This book explores his exotic and masculine star image and its transformations from lavish Orientalist Hollywood spectacles of the 1950s to 1960s European co-productions, 1970s action films and scifi. Extensively researched, it covers the actor’s entire film catalogue, his rumoured yet unrealised projects, television work and stage appearances, as well as their international media reception. Thematically organised, the book inquires after racial casting politics, the construction of sex symbols, Brynner’s humanitarian work and the recurring poses and gestures that characterised his performance style.

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about sex, open-mindedness, and cinnamon buns

Our article with Jenny Sundén, Katrin Tiidenberg and Maria Vihlman, titled “About Sex, Open-Mindedness, and Cinnamon Buns: Exploring Sexual Social Media“, is just out (on OA) with Social Media + Society. It’s the second joint article coming out from our collaborative project on local sexual platforms, with more to come.

And here’s the abstract: General purpose social media platforms—often incited by American legislation—increasingly exclude sex from acceptable forms of sociality in the abstract name of user safety. This article analyzes interview data (four developer interviews and 56 user interviews) from three North European sexual platforms (Darkside, Alastonsuomi, and Libertine.Center) to explore what follows from including sexual sites in definitions and analyses of social media and, by extension, in including sex in definitions of “the social” itself. We found that instead of context collapse, the users and developers of the studied sites operate with what we call context promiscuity, blending boundaries, but maintaining their structural integrity. This allows for a particular silosociality to emerge based on experiences of safety, risk, and consent. Building on this, we propose thinking of sexual expression as something not contained by, but put in motion across platforms, user cultures, content policies, and sexual norms. Rather than framing sexual social media exchanges in terms of their perceived risks and harms, we would do well to also inquire after the risks and harms involved in ousting sex from networked forms of sociality. Deplatforming of sex truncates our ways of understanding what interests, forces, and attachments drive our sociality. Yet, when analyzing social media as if the socio-sexual matters, platforms designed to support sexual displays and connections become vital nodal points in social media ecologies.

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Natalie Wood Day

Co-authored with Tanya Horeck, our article “Natalie Wood Day”: Sexual Violence and Celebrity Remembrance in the #MeToo Era is freshly out with Celebrity Studies. Not on open access, alas, but here’s a manuscript version at least. The abstract reads like this:

This article inquires after the ethics of posthumous outing and networked forms of remembrance connected to public figures accused of, or having admitted to, sexual violence and domestic abuse. Focusing on the obituary politics surrounding the 2020 deaths of Kirk Douglas, Kobe Bryant, and Sean Connery, it explores the forms that a feminist ethics of disclosure and memorialisation might take in the #MeToo era. Contra the popular tendency of othering sex offenders as exceptional ‘monsters,’ #MeToo’s affective and discursive force lies in framing sexual violence as unextraordinary, banal, and ubiquitous. In what follows, we make a case for forms of remembrance acknowledging that a person can simultaneously be an accomplished professional, a loving parent, and a rapist, so that one aspect of one’s being and actions need not require silence over others. Reflecting on what it means to remember public figures in their totality, we flag the importance of attending to the social, cultural, political, economic, and historical contexts that have contributed to the prominence, and subsequent remembrance of individuals. We argue that such a contextual move makes it possible to see the individual public figure within the social networks and hierarchies that have allowed, or disallowed, patterns of behaviour.

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locating sex

Locating Sex: Regional Geographies of Sexual Social Media, the first article on our study of Swedish, Estonian and Finnish sexual platforms with Jenny Sundén, Katrin Tiidenberg and Maria Vihlman, is out on OA with Gender, Place & Culture. This is a collab between the Rethinking Sexuality project and the IDA consortium, with more to follow. Here’s the abstract:

Contributing to the field of the geographies of digital sexualities, this article explores the geosocial dimensions of digital sexual cultures by analyzing three regionally operating, linguistically specific social media platforms devoted to sexual expression. Drawing on case studies of an Estonian platform used primarily for group sex, a Swedish platform for kink and BDSM, and a Finnish platform for nude self-expression, we ask how these contribute to and shape sexual geographies in digital and physical registers. First, we focus on the platforms as tools for digital wayfinding and hooking up. Second, we consider how the platforms help to reimagine and sexualize physical locations as ones of play, and how this transforms the ways of inhabiting such spaces. Third, we analyze how the platforms operate as sexual places in their own right, designed to accommodate certain forms of display, relating, and belonging. We argue, in particular, that these platforms shape how users imagine and engage with location by negotiating notions of proximity and distance, risk and safety, making space for sexual sociability. We approach geographies of sexuality both through the regional and linguistic boundaries within which these platforms operate, as well as through our participants’ sense of comfort and investment in local spaces of sexual play. As sexual content is increasingly pushed out of large, U.S.-owned social media platforms, we argue that locally operating platforms provide a critical counterpoint, allowing for a vital re-platforming of sex on a regional level.

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Filed under data culture, feminist media studies, internet research, NSFW, sexuality

Yul Brynner

Screenshot 2022-09-08 at 16.59.53This book is way more than a pet project and it ended up being a deep, deep dive not just into the actor’s film work but also to archival press sources. Yul Brynner: Exoticism, Cosmopolitanism and Screen Masculinity has a due date for March in Edinburgh University Press’s International Film Stars Series. I’m tickled pink and it’s been a joy working with the publisher. Here’s the blurb:

Yul Brynner’s star image was built on cosmopolitan flair, shifting tales of origin, baldness, as well as film roles as foreign rulers, freedom fighters, army officials, gunslingers and secret agents of ever-shifting ethnicities. Whether Cossacks, marauding pirate captains or cross-dressing torch singers, Brynner’s characters were invariably stand-outs.

This book explores his exotic and masculine star image and its transformations from lavish Orientalist Hollywood spectacles of the 1950s to 1960s European co-productions, 1970s action films and scifi. Extensively researched, it covers the actor’s entire film catalogue, his rumoured yet unrealised projects, television work and stage appearances, as well as their international media reception. Thematically organised, the book inquires after racial casting politics, the construction of sex symbols, Brynner’s humanitarian work and the recurring poses and gestures that characterised his performance style.

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Filed under academic pleasures, media history

experimentations in pandemic boredom

978-3-030-96272-2A new book edited by Britta Timm Knudsen, Mads Krogh and Carsten Stage, titled Methodologies of Affective Experimentation, came out in the summer with Palgrave. Full of insight into things to do with affect in cultural  inquiry, it also includes my chapter, “Experimentations in Pandemic Boredom”. It asks how diagnoses of pandemic boredom, and cures thereof, during the COVID-19 lockdowns can help us to rethink broad theoretical takes on boredom identifying it as a modern (Zeitgeist?) phenomenon connected to an abundance of stimuli, or as a state of flatness and disinterest specifically brought forth by networked/social media.

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Filed under affect theory, cultural studies, academic pleasures, data culture

technopharmacology is out!

Screenshot 2021-11-07 at 19.47.39Co-authored with the excellent Joshua Neves, Aleena Chia and Ravi Sundaram, Technopharmacology is just out with University of Minnesota Press in the In search of media series and as an open access book with Meson Press. The book explores the close relations of media technologies to pharmaceuticals and pharmacology and calls for expanding media theoretical inquiry by attending to the biological, neurological, and pharmacological dimensions of media and centers on emergent affinities between big data and big pharma. My section focuses on diagnoses of online porn addiction and makes an argument for attending to the excitements that make the self. This was fun to make.

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multiplatform 2022: corporealities

Multiplatform 2022: Corporealities, a Conference on Bodies and Embodiment in Games at the Manchester Metropolitan Game Centre has been moved online due to pending rail strikes. Should you be interested in my keynote on sex, play and networked pleasures on Friday, June 23, Zoom is now an option.

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more intimacy in data-driven culture

IDAHappy news! Our Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture consortium got funding for 2022-2025 from the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland. During the second funding period we’ll continue to probe vulnerabilities connected to datafication among different groups of people with a cross-disciplinary research team at University of Turku, Tampere University, Aalto University and Åbo Akademi University. As PI, am feeling very, very fortunate.

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rethinking dick pics

9780367756413Building on the work we started with the NSFW book, Ben Light, Kylie Jarrett and I just have a fresh article out with Routledge’s Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays. 4th Edition, edited by Nancy L. Fischer, Laurel Westbrook and Steven Seidelman. Titled “Rethinking Dick Pics”, it encourages readers to consider dick pics in context. An intro excerpt:

“Although nude selfies of women are seen as indicative of sexual titillation and availability, similar images of men’s bodies – and dick pics in particular – open up a broader and more ambiguous spectrum of interpretations, from sexual invitation to harassment, gendered violence, and humor. Dick pics are therefore part of complicated and diverse socio-technical arrangements so that contextual nuance is necessary for understanding both their intended functions and the experiences that they give rise to. Dick pics certainly can be, and are used as, instruments of gender-based harassment, yet they also come embedded in more diverse and complex – occasionally desired and reciprocal – social exchanges and attachments.”

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