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University of Iowa News Release


April 6, 2007

'Sex In Public/Sex In Private' Conference Set For April 13-15

The University of Iowa's Craft Critique Culture Conference, "Sex in Public/Sex in Private," set for April 13-15, will examine the ways sex and gender define and blur the distinctions between public and private realms.

Craft Critique Culture is an annual interdisciplinary conference focusing on intersections between critical and creative approaches to writing. The conference was established seven years ago by graduate students in the English department to create an opportunity for UI faculty and graduate students to share their research and scholarship in a conference setting. Graduate students and faculty from the UI and several other universities will participate.

The conference includes three keynote presentations, which are free and open to the public.

"Our speakers will discuss three different perspectives on the roles of sex and gender in shaping our lives, one from a literary background, one from documentary film and one from anthropology," said Holly Savage, a graduate student in English and co-organizer of the conference. "Each of them is making important contributions to the discussion of how gender roles impact our public and private lives."

Lauren Berlant, George M. Pullman Professor of Literature at the University of Chicago, will present "On the Desire to Be Normal: Post-Fordist Affect in (the films) 'La Promesse' and 'Rosetta'" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13 in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. Her work focuses on 19th and 20th Century American literature and development of identity in public and private spheres.

Sasha Waters, UI associate professor of cinema and comparative literature, will present, "Sex: Do it for the Kids - Two Short Films about Motherhood" at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14 in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. Waters teaches production and documentary film courses. She will show two of her films, "Whipped" and "The Waiting Time," and discuss the connection between the two. 

David Valentine, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, will present "Writing Transgender: A Politics of Categories" at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14 in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. Valentine is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist with interests in gender, sexuality, language and communication, urban America, aliens and medical anthropology.

Panel presentations on Saturday and Sunday are also open to the public, but organizers request that attendees register in advance. Registration forms and a complete conference schedule are available at

The panel presentation topics are: "Poetics and Erotics of Place," "Sex & Cyberspace," "Reading & Desiring Bodies in Performance," "Women Gone Wild: The Risks and Rewards of Writing True Sex," "Performing Gender," "Postmodernism: Reading Books Dirtily," "Science of Sexuality," "Essays: Sex & Self," "Queerness in Public/Private," "Sexual Scandal in Print," "Rhetorics of Sexuality" and "Mediating Masculinity."

Sponsors of the conference include the Department of Anthropology, the School of Art and Art History, the Carver Fund, the Center for the Book, the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Freedman Fund, the Department of French and Italian, the Department of German, the Department of History, the International Writing Program, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry, the Department of Rhetoric, the Sexuality Studies Program, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women's Studies, UI Student Government and the UI Lecture Committee.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Program: Holly Savage,, 303-819-0352; Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,