12 October 2023

João Florêncio, new professor in gender studies at Linköping University, is establishing a new research area at the Department of Thematic Studies. His work focuses on queer sex cultures, aiming to reveal how they shape ethics, politics, and society.

A person is holding a mobile phone that is lit up in a dark room with red lights
New research area on sex media and sex cultures

João Florêncio, Professor in Gender StudiesJoão Florêncio, Professor in Gender Studies Can you tell us a little about your background?
– After graduating from the doctoral programme in Visual Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London, I worked in the department of Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies at the University of Exeter, in the UK. I would situate my work at the intersection of cultural studies, visual culture, queer studies and science and technology studies.

– My main interest is to understand how sex media such as pornography, biotechnologies, and sexual practices all come together to shape distinct sexual cultures that play a crucial role in shaping our identities. Because the focus of my work is queer sex cultures, my work tries to unpack how queer bodies, subjects and lifeworlds come into being, how they are mediated, contested, and how they come to matter ethically, politically, and socially.

What made you apply to the professor's position at the Department of thematic studies?
– I applied because I really treasure environments that are interdisciplinary by design. “Interdisciplinarity” is a term with a lot of currency in academia today, yet seldom do we find places where interdisciplinarity has been thought structurally to become the pillar where a particular scholarly environment was built.

That is the sense I got from the Department of Thematic Studies; namely, that interdisciplinarity is not an afterthought but an a priori. That is very appealing to me as someone who has never felt truly at home in any traditional disciplinary environment.

– And then, obviously, Tema Gender Studies has a really excellent international reputation, and I hope I can contribute to further its international relevance and impact.

What will you be working on at Linköping University?
– At LiU, I will be introducing and developing a new research strand on sex media and sex cultures at Tema Gender Studies. This will start humbly with myself and my new doctoral student, but the plan is to secure funding for the team to grow.

– In terms of my own research, I will be starting a new project for which I received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council while still working in the UK. It’s a four-year project with co-investigators at Birmingham City University and the University of Exeter, and Berlin’s Schwules Museum and London’s Bishopsgate Institute as project partners. The project is called “The Europe that Gay Porn Built, 1945–2000,” and it will critically examine the ways in which the growing transnational circulation of gay male erotica and porn magazines contributed to the development of a transnational sense of identification and belonging among gay men in Europe.

– In the meantime, I am also co-writing an experimental autotheoretical book on queer cruising, which should hopefully come out next year. Then, of course, in my space time I will be working on my Swedish, which is currently inexistent.

Meet João Florêncio

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