The Politics of Pleasure


This 400 level seminar interrogates the concept of pleasure. Pleasure occupies a fraught space in feminist and queer theory. This course examines several ways that people have theorized pleasure as a space for politics, a space for conservatism, or a way to think about racialized difference. This course is not interested in defining what pleasure is, but it interrogates what the stakes of talking about pleasure have been within contemporary theory and culture. Beginning with an examination of pleasure in the context of early twentieth century sexology, this course looks at the sex wars of the 1970s, the turn toward pleasure as a space of protest, and ends by thinking of ways to imagine pleasure outside of current paradigms of sexuality. The course takes gender, race, and sexuality as central analytic components to understand how pleasure is defined and who has access to it. Either Introduction to Sexuality Studies or Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are prerequisites.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS SD I; AS SC

Section 01

The Politics of Pleasure - 01
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