A WEARSIDE university lecturer is proving a specialist in pornography.
Dr Clarissa Smith, who teaches at The University of Sunderland, will co-edit the world’s first academic journal dedicated to the subject.
The Porn Studies Journal, due to be published by Routledge from next year, which Dr Smith will edit along with Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically examine the subject.
It will look at products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contexts.
Pornography is a growing area of study within a range of academic fields and this will be reflected in the content of Porn Studies.
The journal will feature research by scholars working in areas including cultural studies, film and sociology and will draw on studies of sex work and law and criminology as these relate to the regulation of sex and the media.
Dr Smith, who is reader in sexual cultures at The University of Sunderland, said pornography is worthy of study for many reasons, including its perceived threat to young people.
She said: “The point of the journal is that it brings serious academic study together in a single space so there is a possibility of discussion across disciplinary boundaries.”
The lecturer is currently studying more than 5,000 responses to an online survey that invited people to say why they used pornographic material.
And a further study of young people and their responses to porn is still being carried out.
Dr Smith said there is a lot of concern that children are being desensitised by some material, but early responses to the survey suggested young people were making informed choices about what they regarded as good or bad sex after watching different images.
Professor Attwood said: “The critical study of pornography is growing and there are an increasing number of conferences, articles and PhD projects in this area.
“However, there is currently no dedicated outlet for work of this kind. We are confident that Porn Studies will attract significant high-quality contributions from around the globe.”