Representing same-sex desire

Representing same-sex desire.
Local contexts, global circulations

A project funded by the 4EU+ University Alliance, developed by Sorbonne University (Paris), the Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Prague), the Universities of Copenhaguen, Milan and Warsaw, and CEFRES.

Project coordinators:

Josef Šebek, Charles University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Czech and Comparative Literature – principal investigator of the 4EU+ minigrant
Mateusz Chmurski, CEFRES – French Center for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, Prague / Sorbonne Université
Carlotta Cossutta, Università degli Studi di Milano Statale / FUEL – Feminist and Queer Philosophy Lab
Libuše Heczková, Charles University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Czech and Comparative Literature / Centre of Gender Studies
Anton Juul, University of Copenhagen / Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Difference
Iwona Kurz, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Kultury Polskiej
Jean-François Laplénie, Sorbonne Université / Initiative Genre Philomel


The project intends to develop a network of 4EU+ colleagues working on LGBTQ+ cultural and literary history around a book project for the International Comparative Literature Association series’ Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages (ICLA CHLEL).

The book, entitled “Same-Sex Desire: Representations, Circulations, Locations in European Literary Cultures” aims to embrace the complexity of same-sex desire representations in European-language literatures: from the late 19th century and the beginning of the modernist movement, which is also a moment when contemporary definitions of homosexuality appeared in different European contexts, until the end of the 20th century, which coincided with the years of AIDS pandemic, remodeling of these representations and the emergence of new scientific perspectives in the gay and lesbian studies, followed by gender and queer studies. The cooperation launched by the project is vital for the book’s unprecedented scope and innovative methodology.

Planned activities

  1. Initial 4EU+ team meeting in Prague, June 2024
  2. International Conference “Boundless Affections: Methodologies in Transnational History of Same-Sex Desire in Literature (19th-20th centuries)“, Prague, September 19-20, 2024
  3. Presentation of the team project at the ICLA CHLEL Board Meeting, Copenhagen, June 1, 2024
  4. Archive research, Paris, BNF, August 2024
  5. Research seminar with team members, Prague, Oct-Nov 2024

Aim of the project

  1. Federating a core of queer studies specialists at 4EU+ alliance universities: Philomel, InterGen, FUEL, CGS) into a working cluster with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ stakes.
  2. Discussing theoretical and methodological issues on historical representations of same-sex desire in European languages in terms of: continuities and changes; methods and concepts used; literature exploring diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in relation to both European literary traditions and transcultural/transnational perspectives; canons and subcanons of same-sex desire representations in literature; specific genres in relation to representations of same-sex desire; gay/lesbian/queer gaze; tropes and regularities of authorial self-representation, negotiation with (dominant) norms etc.
  3. Exchanging research and teaching experiences in the field among 4EU+ alliance scholars.