Call for "Early Incels: the Legacy of Eighteenth-Century Misogyny" at ASECS 19
On April 23rd, an “incel,” or involuntary celebate, drove a van through the city of Toronto, killing ten and injuring sixteen. This attack thrust the so-called “incel movement” into public conciousness, sparking widespread outrage and surprise at this supposedly new phenomenon. This panel considers the incel movement as only the most recent instantiation of extreme misogyny, asking how incel ideology can be linked to eighteenth-century texts, ideas, and objects. Incel doctrine holds that sex with women is a “right” that should be provided by the state, and which could be regulated by capitalism, through a form of mandated prostitution. Thus incel ideology engages with many of the eighteenth century’s most vexed questions, like how subjects with “natural rights” are constituted (and what those rights entail), how sex work should be understood (as, for instance, natural or unnatural, a threat to our dominant cultural institutions or a bullwark of them), and how market pressures might be marshalled to engineer an ideal culture. It invites papers which treat these questions, draw other connections between eighteenth-century misogyny and the incel movement, limn the deep cultural history of misogyny, and/or identify commonalities which counter the narrative that the incel is a new phenomenon.
Email abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15th if you're interested in participating.