The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

BA (Hons) (Curtin), PhD (Macquarie). 

Elizabeth Stephens is an ARC Research Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the Centre.  Her research focuses on philosophies and histories of the body, informed especially by gender studies, queer theory, and French post-structuralism.  Current projects include monographs on Techno-Sensorium: Technology and the Training of the Senses and A Critical Genealogy of Normality (co-authored with Peter Cryle).  She is also editing a volume on Virtual Anatomies: The Cultural Impact of New Medical Imaging Technologies (forthcoming May, 2012).

Her books include Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1750 to the Present (Liverpool UP, 2011) and Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet’s Fiction (Palgrave, 2009), as well as the edited collections Embodiment and The Archival Imaginary (2010, with Susan Stryker) and Male Bodies (2007). During 2012, she will also be working on a series of collaborative projects with the biological arts collective SymbioticA.


Room: Room 503, Level 5, Forgan Smith Building, 

Telephone: (07) 334 69493


  • Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1750 to the Present (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011).
  • Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet’s Fiction (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Edited Collections

  • The Archival Imaginary (co-edited with Susan Stryker), special issue of Australian Feminist Studies 25.64 (2010)
  • Male Bodies (co-edited with Jørgen Lorentzen), special issue of Men and Masculinities 10.1 (2007).

Refereed Journal Articles

  • “The Bad Homosexual: Genet’s Perverse Homo-Politics.” Sexualities [in press]
  • “The Pharmacopornographic Subject: Beatrice Preciado’s Testo Junkie: Sexe, Drogue et Biopolitique.” Polaris Journal [in press].
  • “Sex as a normalising technology: early-twentieth-century public sex education campaigns.”  Psychology and Sexuality 1.3 (2010): 262-274
  • “Queer Memoir: Public Confession and/as Sexual Practice in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love.” Australian Humanities Review 48 (2010).
  • “Venus Anatomised: Gynomorphic Waxworks as Medical Archives of the Female Body.” Australian Feminist Studies 25. 64 (2010): 133–145.
  • “Coining Spermatorrhoea: Medicine and Male Body Fluids, 1836-1866.” Sexualities 12.4 (2009): 469-487.
  • “Pathologizing Male Fluidity: Spermatorrhoea and the Treatment of Male Sexual Disorders.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 17.3 (2008): 421-38.
  • “Inventing the Bodily Interior: Écorché Figures in Early Modern Anatomy and von Hagens’ Body Worlds.” Social Semiotics 17.3 (2007): 313-326.
  • “Male Bodies.”  Men and Masculinities 10.1 (2007): 5-8.
  • “The Spectacularised Penis: Contemporary Representations of the Phallic Male Body.” Men and Masculinities 10.1 (2007): 85-98.
  • “Cultural Fixions of the Freak Body: Coney Island and the Postmodern Side Show” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 20.4 (2006): 485-498.
  • “Bodies in Translation: French Feminist Influences on Recent Anglophone Feminist Theory.” Australian Feminist Studies 21.49 (2006): 99-103.
  • “Twenty-First Century Freak Show: Recent Transformations in the Exhibition of Non-Normative Bodies.” “Freakery” special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly 25.3 (2005).
  • “Disseminating Phallic Masculinity: Seminal Fluidity in Genet’s Fiction.” (special issue on Jean Genet) Paragraph 27.2 (2004): 85-97.
  • “Masculinity as Masquerade: ‘Gay’ Macho in the Novels of Jean Genet.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies 4.2 (December 1999): 52–63.
  • “Hall of Mirrors: Phallocentrism in the Fiction of Jean Genet.” Colloquy: Text, Theory, Critique 3 (1999)
  • “Satyrical Men: Genet’s Theatre of Masculinity.” Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review 5.1 (1998): 30–33.
  • “Technologies of Recuperation: The Failures of Dada.” Southerly, 57.1 (1997): 79–90.

 Refereed Book Chapters

  • “Geeks and Gaffs: The Queer Legacy of the 1950s American Freak Show,” in The Queer 50’s, ed. Heike Bauer and Matt Cook (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • “Touching Bodies: Tact/ility in Nineteenth-Century Medical Photographs and Models,” Sexual Histories, ed. Sarah Toulalan (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
  • "Heterosexuality: An Unfettered Capacity for Degeneracy," A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Age of Empire, Vol 5, ed. Chiara Beccalossi and Ivan Crozier (Oxford: Berg, 2010), 27-42 (co-authored with Chad Parkhill).
  • “Spectacularised Bodies: From the Popular Anatomy Museum to Body Worlds.” The Body Divided. Ed. Helen McDonald. London: Ashgate, 2010 [in press].
  • “Monstrous Self-Transformations: Technologies of Bodily Change from Bulwer’s Anthropometamorphosis to Braidotti’s Metamorphoses.” Somatechnics: Queering the Technologisation of Bodies. Eds.Nikki Sullivan and Sam Murray. London: Ashgate, 2009. 171-186.
  • “Redefining Sexual Excess as a Medical Disorder: Fin-de-Siecle Representations of Hysteria and Spermatorrhoea.” Pleasure and Pain in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture. Ed. David Evans. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. 201-12.
  • “Flesh Machines: Postmodernism and the Self-Made Body.” Cultural Theory, Everyday Life. Eds. Nicole Anderson and Katrina Schlunke. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2008. 114-121
  • “Anatomies of Desire: Female Bodies in Fin-de-Siècle Anatomical Museums.” Fin de Siècle Sexuality: The Making of a Central Problem. Ed. Peter Cryle and Chris Forth. Newark: Delaware University Press, 2007. 25-41
  • “Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in the Novels of Jean Genet.” Queer Sexualities in French and Francophone Literature and Film. French Literature Series 34. Ed. James Day. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007. 129-144.
  • “Corporeographies: The Dancing Body in ’adame miroir and Un chant d’amour.” Genet: Politics and Performance. Ed. Clare Finburgh, Carl Lavery and Maria Shevtsova. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 159-168.
  • « ‘Un Mur qui ne serait jamais abattu’ : Le bagne du désir dans Un Chant d’amour .» Aimez-vous le queer?  Ed. Laurence Schehr. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2005. 131-139.
  • “ ‘Je suis un mensonge qui dit toujours la vérité’: Genet's Queer Subjectivities.” Soi-Disant: Life-Writing in French. Eds. Juliana de Nooy, Joe Hardwick and Barbara E. Hanna. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005. 41-53.
  • “A Language of One’s Own: The Possibilities of Writing in French Feminism and Deconstruction.” Casting New Shadows: Proceedings of the 2001 AWSA Biennial Conference. Ed Wendy Waring. Sydney:The Institute for Women's Studies, 2003. Available online at Stephens.pdf
  • “Watchdogs of Desire: Homophobia in the Novels of Jean Genet.” Playing the Man: New Approaches to Masculinity. Sydney: Pluto Press, 1999. 63–74.
  • “Phallic Worship in the Novels of Jean Genet.” Corporealities: Energies, Affects, Selves. Collected Papers Number Four. The 1998 Literature and Psychoanalysis Conference, 1999. 29–44.

Keynote Addresses and Invited Public Lectures

  • “The Masturbating Girl: Public Confession and/as Sexual Practice,” Plenary Paper, Symposium in honour of Eve Sedgwick, University of Sydney, August 2009.
  • «L’Homosexualié et l’heteronormativité dans l’œuvre de Jean Genet : des critiques gays aux théories queer», Public Lecture, L’école des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, June 2009.
  • “The Body in the Archive”, Masterclass Seminar for the Birkbeck Institute of Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck College, University of London, May 2009. 
  • “Bodies as Public Spectacles: From the Popular Anatomy Museum to the Freak Show," Public Lecture for the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, November 2007.
  • “Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet’s Fiction," Public Lecture for the French Department, University of Pennsylvania, October 2007.
  • “Anatomical Venuses and the Gendering of Medical Knowledge," Public Lecture for the Peninsula College of Medicine, Royal Cornwall Hospital, July 2007.
  • “Anatomy as Spectacle: The Body in the Museum," Keynote Address for the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe Conference, “Sexuality and Gender in Dialogue and Discourse," University of Exeter, May 2007
  • “Twenty-First Century Freak Show: The Reinvention of the Sideshow at Coney Island," Public Lecture for the School of Creative Communication, University of Canberra, August 20.

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