At Last, Porn Studies

For those of you looking for new scholarly research projects, or trying to publish rather, well, unusual studies, perhaps about the adult film industry, academic publishing has provided America with a new venue.

According to a press release from Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), the academic publisher, which also issues such venerated titles as Aging and Mental Health, the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, and the Journal of Library Administration, announced last week that it has,

Publish[ed] the first double issue of Porn Studies, the premier dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contexts. Porn Studies is edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Professor Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland and supported by an international editorial board including: Constance Penley, Brian McNair, Lynn Comella, Martin Barker, Susanna Paasonen and Alan McKee.

PornProf

Oh Hurrah! Why now? And why a peer-reviewed journal of porn? Well:

In their introduction to the first, double issue of the journal Attwood and Smith outlined why this new journal is needed: “Perhaps one of the most important reasons for Porn Studies is the very topicality of pornography; we believe it is the right time to launch this journal because the subject is so politically and emotionally charged. Pornography has a public presence as an object of concern and as a metaphor used to designate the boundaries of the public space.

Certainly it is a topic of considerable discussion, in both the academy and popular culture. A recent piece at Slate wondered “why lesbian porn is so uninspiring.” There was the fun recent controversy over the career of Chris Christie lookalike porn star Tom Byron (that last link is not safe for work, or really even your own sense of well-being). In another article, over at the National Review author Kevin Williamson attended Porn Oscars and concluded (puzzlingly enough) that we might be soon be looking at “the end of sex.”

According to sociology professor Gail Dines, a co-founder of Stop Porn Culture (good luck with that), the problem with the journal is that it has a “pro-porn bias.” As she puts it:

[The Porn Studies editors are] leaping to all sorts of unfounded conclusions. It’s incredibly important that we study the porn industry, porn culture, porn’s effect on sexual identities. It’s become a major part of our lives. But these editors come from a pro-porn background where they deny the tons and tons of research that has been done into the negative effects of porn.

Well, get to work submitting some research, Dines. Here’s the publication where you can make your voice heard.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer