Skip to content

CfP: Virgin Envy: Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Virginity

Virgin Envy: Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Virginity
Eds. Jonathan A. Allan, Cristina Santos, and Adriana Spahr

Contemporary culture has seen a renewed interest in virgins, from Bella Swan and Edward Cullen to Anastasia Steele to Steve Carrell’s infamous 40-old-virgin to the rise of Purity Clubs. How do we understand these discussions and representations of virginity? Do these texts “re-invent” virginity? Or, do these texts merely repeat “standard” treatments of virginity?

This edited volume aims to work through the poetics and politics of virginity in narrative, poetry, cinema, and popular culture. This volume treats virginity as an area of theoretical, intellectual, and cultural concern in modern texts. The goal is to position virginity as an interdisciplinary matter that must be studied from the widest possible range of perspectives. The editors believe that any study of virginity demands and interdisciplinary and/or intercultural perspective precisely because it is inculcated by so many discourses: religious, cultural, psychological, sociological, anthropology, ethnographic, philosophical, etc. The volume will ideally include essays from the humanities and social sciences, but the editors would welcome papers from outside of the humanities and social sciences.

We welcome papers that recognize the complexity and diversity of virginity. We are especially interested in papers that move beyond normative definitions and understandings of virginity:

·      Purity Clubs, Abstinence, and the Silver Ring Thing

·      Celebrity Culture and Virginity

·      Queer Virginities (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, etc.)

·      Male virginities

·      Defining virginity lost (and found)

·      Hymenoplasty, re-virginization, vaginal rejuvenization, medical interventions

·      Cross-cultural analyses of virginity

·      Psychoanalytic, Psychological, Sociological, Philosophical Approaches and the study of Virginity

·      Virginity in Literature, Film, and Popular Culture

·      Virginity and Identity, Identifying as Virgin, Epistemology of the Virgin’s Closet

·      The commodification of virginity, virginity auctions, virginity pornography

·      Virginity and confession, religious contexts, psychotherapeutic contexts

·      Virginity and Romance

Please send abstracts (500 words, including proposed bibliography) and a brief CV  (1-2 pages) by March 1, 2013 to

Completed article-length papers (5,000 words, MLA Style) will be due by August 1, 2013. All papers will undergo a peer-review process before final acceptance and publication.