Sex and Money: Economies of Desire


This interdisciplinary course explores the connections among sexuality and money. First, we investigate the role of money in sexual life that appears to exist outside the market. How does heterosexuality reproduce capitalism, and are there sexual formations that escape capitalism's reach? Can there be meaningful consent so long as there is rent to pay? How do economics, race, and colonialism shape desire? What is the role of money in dating and marriage, and should these be understood as forms of legalized prostitution, as Marxist feminists and sex workers have long suggested? Next, we turn to sex work to explore how explicit economic exchange shapes sexuality. What power dynamics does money engender, and how do sex workers navigate and subvert them? Is sex work merely an extension of the "work we do as women," as sex worker activists wrote in a 1977 manifesto? Finally, we close with the question, do women have better sex under socialism? What economic systems make way for sexual liberation, and how might projects for economic justice center demands for better sexual futures? Prerequisite: Any -100 or -200 level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AR SSP; AS SSC; FA SSC; AR SSC; AS SC

Section 01

Sex and Money: Economies of Desire - 01
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