Photo of João Florêncio

João Florêncio

Professor

A queer cultural scholar of embodiment and sexuality researching the interfacing between the body, media technologies, and sex in contemporary culture. 

Sex media and sex cultures informing the queer body, shaping the queer self

My research draws from queer studies, media studies, visual culture and cultural studies to investigate the ways in which the queer body has been produced, policed, and contested as a political site of creative and affective sexual world-making in modern and contemporary sex cultures. 

Sex and sexualities are ubiquitous presences in contemporary media cultures and public discourse, from health panics surrounding the effects of easily-accessible online pornography, to ongoing (and age-old) moral panics about "good" sex and "bad" sex, fears of "sexualisation", or the growing market for all kinds of sex technologies: porn, sex toys, sexual performance drugs (Viagra, Cialis, etcetera), recreational drugs (GHB, crystal methamphetamine, cathinones, etcetera), online sex work (OnlyFans, JustForFans), dating and hook-up apps (Grindr, Tinder, Recon, Hinge, Scruff, etcetera).

In my research, I approach sex cultures as pillars of modern and contemporary forms of subjectivation, centring the role and affordances of different media in producing, disseminating, and sustaining different sex cultures and sexual subjects. I am particularly interested in queer sex media and sex cultures: from the ways in which sex and pornography have informed queer people's ways of understanding themselves and relating to one another—operating as one of many sources for a sexual pedagogy of the queer self—to modern and contemporary forms of queer sociability centred around sex and sexual experiments with the body's affects, pleasures, and desires. A core preoccupation of mine is the roles that both queer sex media and sex cultures have historically had (and continue to have) as mediators of broader ideas about ethics, kinship, belonging and politics that sometimes resonate with, sometimes diverge from, institutionalised hegemonic framings of intimacy and relations of self and other.

These research interests have led me to research and write on topics such as gay porn; cruising, public sex, and the public/private divide; queer club cultures; queer cultures of drug use; HIV and AIDS cultures; barebacking, fluid exchanges and the production of the body in contemporary gay "pig" sexual subcultures; the cultural dimensions of narratives of infection and immunity (e.g. relating to HIV or COVID-19); histories of homosexuality in relation to forms of citizenship (including sexual citizenship) idealised by contemporary nation-states; etc.

Despite being focused on what may be perceived as a wide diversity of topics, all my work nonetheless reflects my interest in the ways in which modern and contemporary queer bodies (like all bodies) can only ever be grasped from within the wider assemblages of flesh, technologies, institutions, medical and legal discourse, consumption rituals, sexual practices, cultural formations and media infrastructures of which they are always part and through which they necessarily constitute themselves, however provisionally.​
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Publications

Books

  • Crossings: Creative Ecologies of Cruising, co-authored with Liz Rosenfeld. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2025.
  • Bareback Porn, Porous Masculinities, Queer Futures: The Ethics of Becoming-Pig. London: Routledge, 2020.

Journal Articles

  • “Drugs, Techno and the Ecstasy of Queer Bodies,” The Sociological Review 71, no. 4 (2023): 861–880. DOI: 10.1177/00380261231174970.
  • “Introduction to a special Cultural Commons section on It’s a Sin,” co-written with Gary Needham. European Journal of Cultural Studies 26, no. 1 (2023): 80–84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13675494221106493.
  • “Chemsex Cultures: Subcultural Reproduction and Queer Survival.” Sexualities, 26, no. 5–6 (2023): 556–573. DOI: 10.1177/1363460720986922.
  • “The Care of the Flesh.” Journal of Bodies, Sexualities and Masculinities 3, no. 2 (2022): 133–139.
  • “Sexing the Archive: Gay Porn and Subcultural Histories,” co-written with Ben Miller. Radical History Review 142 (2022):133–141.
  • “Writing Theory during a Pandemic.” Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture 17, no. 1 (2020): 32–34.
  • “Antiretroviral Time: Gay Sex, Pornography, and Temporality ‘post-Crisis’.” Somatechnics 10, no.2 (2020): 195–214.
  • “Breeding futures: masculinity and the ethics of CUMmunion in Treasure Island Media’s Viral Loads.” Porn Studies 5, no. 3 (2018): 271–285.
  • Thicker States.GPS: Global Performance Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2017). Co-written with Felipe Cervera, Shawn Chua, Eero Laine, and Evelyn Wan.
  • “Enmeshed Bodies, Impossible Touch: the Object-Oriented World of Pina Bausch’s Café Müller.” Performance Research, Vol. 20, No. 2 (2015): 53–59.
  • Encountering Worlds: Performance in/as Philosophy in the Ecological Age.” Performance Philosophy, No. 1 (2015): 195–213.
  • “Dancing to the Rhythm of a Geiger Counter: Modern(ist) Narcissism and the Anthropocenic Shock.” Identities: Journal of Politics, Gender, and Culture, Vol. 10, No. 1–2 (2013): 111–122.

    Essays in Anthologies or Collections

  • ‘C’est Votre Choix’: Pleasure, Safety and Risk in Projet X.” In Revisiting HIV/AIDS in French Culture: Raw Matters, edited by Loïc Bourdeau and V. Hunter Capps, 93–114. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2022.
  • “The Theatre of Posthuman Immunity.” In The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics, edited by Peter Eckersall and Helen Grehan, 42–45. London: Routledge, 2019.
  • “Porosity/The Body.” In Venice Performance Art Week III: Fragile Body—Material Body, edited by Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke, 53–59. Venice: VestAndPage Press, 2017.
  • “Evoking the Strange Within: Performativity, Metaphor, and Translocal Knowledge in Derek Jarman’s Blue.” In Queer Dramaturgies: International Perspectives on Where Performance Leads Queer, edited by Alyson Campbell and Stephen Farrier, 178–191. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • “Fucked by Strangers/Baisé par des Étrangers.” In Ghost Nature, edited by Caroline Picard, 145–164. Chicago: Green Lantern Press for La Box/École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges, 2014.
  • “Staging the World: A Theatrics of Objects.” In Field Static, edited by Devin King and Caroline Picard, 7–14. Chicago: Holon Press, 2012.
  • “Of Lights, Flesh, Glitter, and Soil: Notes Towards a Complex Ecology of Live Art.” In Space (Re)Solutions: Interventions and Research in Visual Culture, edited by Peter Mörtenbock and Helge Mooshammer, 73-85. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2011.

CV

CV

2014 - PhD, Visual Cultures (Goldsmiths, University of London)

2012 - Postgraduate Certificate, Management of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Goldsmiths, University of London)

2008 - MA (Distinction), Media Arts Philosophy and Practice (University of Greenwich)

2006 - "Licenciatura", Musicology (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

2004 - 30 ECTS, Tecniche Artistiche e dello Spettacolo (Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia)


Academic Citizenship

International Advisory Editorial Board, Sexualities
Editorial Advisory Board, Gender and Justice
Member, Correlation - European Harm Reduction Network
Critical Friends of the Schwules Museum (Berlin)
 

Social Media

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Bluesky: @noisybits.bsky.social

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