Category Archives: academic pleasures

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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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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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

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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workshop: creative methods on digital intimacies, 27 May

GetFileAttachment-1University of Turku, Arcanum A270
 
Workshop: Creative methods on digital intimacies
27 May 2022, 12-15pm
 
Join us for a workshop (live + Zoom) on creative methods for doing and communicating research. Our invited speakers will present their respective projects on digital intimacies and their solutions for both distributing their outcomes to the broader public through unconventional means and incorporating artistic inquiry into their palette of methods. We welcome all participants interested in discussing the intersections of research, creative methods and science communication!
 
Invited talks:
 
Jamie Hakim (King’s College London) & James Cummings (University of York), Digital Intimacies: using fanzines to communicate research on how queer men use smartphones to negotiate their cultures of intimacy (check out their zine here)
 
Antonia Hernández (McGill University), Sexcams in a Dollhouse: creating and using an art-based research device
 
The workshop is organised by the department of Media Studies and the consortium Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland), https://www.dataintimacy.fi/en/

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panel: why is sex objectionable?

Please join us on Zoom, or in person, should you be in Sydney:

Tue, 26 Apr 2022 • 06:00PM – 07:00PM AEDT (10:00 – 11:00 AM CEST)
Online / Social Sciences Building Seminar Room 210, University of Sydney
Online registration link: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Im57SHm9RqCCjG7fd5Fh9g

Despite the significance of sexuality in people’s lives, sex is a topic of constant contestation. This panel asks why sex, particularly mediated depictions of sex, are often termed objectionable. Why are female nipples zoned out from social media? Why is porn framed as a social problem? Join us as our experts discuss what is really at stake in platform regulation of explicit content.

Chair: Professor Kane Race (University of Sydney)

Participants: Professor Kath Albury (Swinburne University of Technology), Professor Alan McKee (UTS), Professor Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku/Hunt-Simes Visiting Chair @SSSHARC, University of Sydney)

https://whatson.sydney.edu.au/event/7ae7ef2c-668b-48ff-a494-168209e76ae6

In person seating is limited so please so please send RSVPs to sssharc.research@sydney.edu.au to ensure your spot.

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short-lived Play

As part of our recently finished research project, Sexuality and Play in Media Culture, Laura Saarenmaa and I explored Leikki (Play), a mid-1970s Finnish sex magazine for women. This lead us to consider popular sex ed of the era, feminist affiliations and methodological challenges. The outcome is now out as “Short-Lived Play: Trans-European Travels in Print Sex Edutainment”, on open access with Media History. And here’s the abstract:

Media history is still written largely from national perspectives so that the role of import and export, translations and franchises is seldom foregrounded. On geographically and linguistically limited markets, imported materials have nevertheless been crucial parts of popular print culture. This paper explores the market of ‘sex edutainment’ magazines in 1970s Finland, zooming specifically in on Leikki (‘Play’, 1976), a sex magazine for women translated from the Norwegian Lek (first launched in 1971) that provided knowledge on topics ranging from marriage to masturbation and lesbian desire. Through contextual analysis of Leikki, a marginal publication that has basically faded from popular memory, this article attends to ephemeral and even failed print media in order to account for the heterogeneity of the 1970s sex press market as it intermeshed with sex advice and education. In so doing, it adds new perspectives to a field largely focused on successful periodicals and addresses knowledge gaps resulting from the exclusion of the sex press from mainstream media historiography.

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Sydney

Until end of April, I am Visiting Professor at University of Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Science as Hunt-Simes Visiting Chair in Sexuality Studies. My visit includes PhD workshops, a public lecture (tba), as well as collaboration with the local research community and my most excellent host, Professor Kane Race, broadly on the topic of sexuality and social media content regulation. Very exciting.

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