Breaking Boundaries:

Sexuality, Gender, Reproduction, Health and Rights


 International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society


Hosted by the

College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

July 12-15, 2017


In 1997, IASSCS’s first conference was in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, focused on the topic of boundaries in sexuality education, research and advocacy. For IASSCS’s 20th anniversary conference to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, we return to the topic of boundaries to think about the ways that borders and horizons – in areas as diverse as the academy, advocacy, politics, and health – continue to shape our approaches to sex, gender, and sexuality and invite creativity and deconstruction in the years to come. Thus, we invite sessions, individual papers and posters that consider the following conference sub-themes:


  • Boundaries in global research: What does it mean to work on sex, gender, reproduction, health and rights in a globalizing world? What issues are necessarily cross-border matters - labor or sex trafficking, migration flows, sexual violence in conflict, etc. - and what strategies are useful for producing knowledge about them?
  • Boundaries in research: What barriers stand in the way of global research and scientifically-based interventions, and how might some of those barriers be transcended in practice?
  • Boundaries of sexual rights struggles: How have governments and activists siloed work on LGBTIQ issues, sex work, abortion and reproductive rights, and other sexual rights struggles? Where is it productive to advocate for sexual rights separately and why might advocates insist on a holistic sexual rights agenda?
  • Boundaries of sexual rights movements: In what ways do geopolitical and ideological boundaries shape sexual rights advocacy? How do North-South funding streams, regional governance structures, academic institutions, and advocacy coalitions affect the substance of sexual rights work?
  • Boundaries in reproductive health and well being, autonomy of women and girls over their bodies, desire and reproduction (abortion, contraception and related rights for women, families, and communities): Why have these rights declined in most parts of the world, even as LGBTIQ rights have advanced and broken new boundaries? What is the role of fundamentalism/fundamentalist religious groups and why have they gained so much terrain in setting boundaries on reproductive and sexual rights, especially for women and girls? Why do they have such a strong influence on governments when it comes to sexual rights?
  • Boundaries in politics, sexual and gender identity struggles: How are problems related to research and education on sexuality and sexual rights used in determining laws and rights, in identity struggles, and in national, regional and/or religious group formation?
  • Boundaries in policymaking: When, if ever, should sexual rights movements embrace the state and its laws? Where has the state created space and protection for sexual rights, and where has this strategy backfired or produced unexpected outcomes?
  • Boundaries in public health: Where are boundaries broken or successful in public health, and when does sound public health insist that boundaries stay intact for successful research and interventions? How do public health research and activist demands converge and diverge in areas like safer sex messaging, blood donation, pregnancy, abortion and family planning, the circulation and use of silicone, hormones, etc.?
  • Boundaries in bodily autonomy: How do we think expansively about the violability and inviolability of the body? How are corporeal boundaries understood in academic and activist work with women, sex workers, survivors of sexual violence, transgender and intersex people, etc.? To the extent they are emphasized, what are the strengths and weaknesses of autonomy and consent as guiding principles for sexual rights struggles?
  • Boundaries in art: How can art feed into/from other disciplines to inform current debates about sexuality? How can NGOs, policymakers, and advocates use art forms to further their discourses on sexuality, sexual practices, and sexual awareness? What happens when art crosses borders with medicine, psychology and psychiatry, and politics to elaborate upon the sexual? What are the trans/inter/cross-cultural shifts that take place? Do “artivist” discourses enhance or diminish artistic ones?
  • Boundaries in media and communications technology: How have changes in media and communications technology shaped sexual behaviors, subjectivities, relationships, and communities? How have developments like the rise of social media, the increasing rapidity of global dissemination, and the intensification of surveillance aided in sexual liberation and repression? How do these developments change how we think about sexuality and solidarity in relation to entities like the nation-state, transnational capital, and an imagined global community of sexual rights supporters?

Important details

  • Before submitting your application, create an IASSCS profile 
  • Submission process opens on August 22nd, 2016
  • Deadline for Submission is January 1st, 2017
  • Communication of Results of Review Process: Friday 14th April, 2017
  • Communication of Results of Scholarship Application: Friday 14th April, 2017
  • Confirmation of Acceptance from Participant: Friday 21st April, 2017
  • Send your proposals through this link (only through your IASSCS profile)
  • Please visit our conference website for more information