Sunday, October 14, 2012

MA Thesis: Performing asexuality through narratives of sexual identity

Sundrud, J. L. (2011). Performing asexuality through narratives of sexual identity. MA Thesis.
This thesis explores the social construction of asexual identities through everyday narrative performances and critically examines the marginalizing effects of heteronormative discourses. This thesis posits narrative performance as a framework for understanding asexual identities within a heteronormative society. Drawing upon oral history and ethnographic methodologies, this thesis examines the narrative performances of three self-identified asexuals and explores four themes within each narrative: 1) the breach of heteronormative expectations, 2) the creation of commonality among individuals within the asexual community, 3) the negotiation of heteronormative discourses within the family, and 4) the construction of future-oriented liminoid narratives of asexuality. This thesis advances the claim that asexuality is a social identity by which asexuals narrate their past within a heteronormative society and envision a queer future.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some thoughts on the asexual blogosphere

Back in July, Siggy posted on his blog and on AVEN a proposal for an asexual group blog, requesting volunteers:
We need to revitalize the asexual blogosphere. Based on my observation of other blogospheres, here’s how to do it: create an authoritative blog. This would be the blog that every asexual worth their salt needs to read, the monarch of the asexual blogosphere. I’m not just throwing this around as an idea, I will actually do this. I volunteer to spearhead it. And I want more volunteers to help run it.
I was interested, and so I volunteered. My first post was about Bullshit and Asexual Politics, and later I started a series about AVEN. After I posted the first and already had a draft of the 2nd, I was removed from the group blog and a post was made "sad news" announcing my removal. While that post gave a supposed justification for my removal, it was several days before I found out the actual reason. Probably like the majority of people on AVEN, I am politically left-leaning, but am very much not sold on tumblr style "social justice" activism. I label this SJism. Basically, what I have in mind is a tendency to focus on in oppression and privilege, especially being oppressed entitles one to speak on some subject, whereas having privilege dis-entitles someone to speak on it. No doubt, many adherents will object to this term, but I use it because I had positive connotations with "social justice" before it was co-opted to have its present meaning on tumblr. Now, I don't much like SJism, though I won't go into the reasons as these are basically the same as those of most left-leaning people who don't much like such approaches.

In addition to being removed from the group blog, I was banned from commenting, although on account of some people protesting in the comments, I was later allowed to comment on other parts of the blog, with the understanding I wouldn't be allowed to defend myself regarding my removal. As such, the closest I could do was comment by proxy through friends, and the actual reason (after I learned it myself) was posted by Ithaca, and confirmed in the comments by Siggy as "a sufficiently accurate description."

So Andrew has apparently been removed from the blog for the following reasons: a) He doesn’t much like SJism, b) He sometimes finds it difficult to constructively engage with some SJers (but not others) and that in such cases, he thinks it’s best to ignore them to avoid flamewars, and c) He thought a fair amount of the content on the blog was inappropriate for a Asexuality 201 blog
This whole affair has prompted me to ask something that's been in the back of my mind for a while: When I first starting blogging, SJ asexual blogs (and I'm using this expression loosely) existed, but they weren't the only ones around, but my impression has long been that in the years since then, SJers have increasingly come to dominate the asexual blogosphere. This strikes me as somewhat odd, given that people with views similar to my own--left leaning but very much not sold on SJ ideology--probably makes us the majority position on AVEN and probably also among AVEN's PT/admods.

And yet, in the asexual blogosphere, it is sufficiently "extreme" to get me removed from a group blog aiming to something that "every asexual worth their salt needs to read."

My question for readers is this: Why?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Update on asexuality at the NSWA annual conference

In January, I posted a CFP for papers about asexuality for the the National Women's Studies Association's (NWSA) 2012 annual meeting. The deadline for submissions has now passed, tentative approval/rejection was given to proposals, and then the deadline for presenters to accept (and register for the conference) at the end of June. They now have a (tentative) schedule posted online. There are now scheduled two panels about asexuality and an Asexual Interest Group meeting.

Decolonizing (A)sexuality: Contesting Contemporary Western Sexual and Gendered Norms Fri, Nov 9 - 5:20pm - 6:35pm

Asexual Intersections: Asexuality and Gender Ideology
*Kristina Gupta (Emory University)

Masculine Doubt and Sexual Wonder: Asexually-Identified Men Talk
About Their (A)sexualities *Ela (Elzbieta) Przybylo (York University, Toronto)

Surveying Asexuality: Variable and Changing Gender Stereotypes in Asexual Identity Formation *Andrew Hinderliter (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) Moderator: Karli Cerankowski (Stanford University) 

Rationale: Scholarship on asexuality addresses the question: what epistemic possibilities do identity and subject formation provide for decolonizing knowledge? Specifically, this panel draws on asexual identity and subject formation as a site of subjugated knowledge to trouble contemporary western conceptions of sexual and gendered norms by: 1) exploring the extent to which asexual identity challenges hegemonic gender ideology; 2) examining the ways in which asexual-identified men challenge taken for granted assumptions about masculinity and sexuality; and 3) considering the role of changing and variable gender ideologies in asexual identity formation through using mixed-methods approaches.

Queering Asexuality Studies: Examining Queer and Trans Practices and Experiences in Virtual and Non-Virtual Asexual Communities Sat, Nov 10 - 10:50am - 12:05pm

Asexual and Gender Non-Conforming Identities in Online Environments
*Regina M Wright (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Trauma and Asexuality: Uncovering a Digital “Archive of Feelings”
*Karli Cerankowski (Stanford University)

Asexuality, Stone Identities and Touch-Me-Not Discourses
*Aasha Foster (New York University) Moderator: Nathan Erro (Louisiana State University)

 Rationale: Much of asexual community building has taken place through online social networks, starting from the website Haven for the Human Amoeba, and then becoming popularized through the forums on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). Asexual online communities have now expanded even further into YouTube collaborative channels such as Hot Pieces of Ace and throughout the blogosphere, most predominately on LiveJournal and Tumblr. Each of these papers engages with both virtual and non-virtual asexual communities as they overlap with queer and trans communities, in order to reveal the political possibilities for thinking through gender and sexual identity in the digital age.

Asexuality Interest Group Meeting
Sat, Nov 10 - 12:50pm - 2:05pm

Friday, January 6, 2012

Survey for asexuals 25 or older

My name's Andrew and I'm writing my doctoral dissertation on asexuality, and for the first part of my research I am wanting to better understand how asexuals understood their asexuality before the rise of online asexual communities. This will help us to better understand the history of asexuality and the conceptual resources people have drawn on for understanding asexuality.

To participate you must
1) presently identify as asexual
2) be 25 years of age or older, and
3) and have lived most of your life since age 12 in English language contexts.

Asexual Identity Online and Before.

I know that there are a lot of you who like taking surveys who may be disappointed about not meeting the eligibility requirements. (Based on the results of the AAW11 census, the eligibility requirements probably exclude about 85% of aces active in online English language communities.) It's not because I don't care about people outside the above demographic, but because of the specific issues I'm wanting to investigate with this particular survey.

Edit: I got the number of responses I was aiming for a much faster than I anticipated. Since I now have 200 responses I have closed the survey. I want to thank everyone who participated.