Thinking about Consent


Consent has become a dominant framework we use to think about sex and sexual violence. We often assume that consent is clear, unambiguous, and consistent. And yet popular representations of sex and sexual violence suggest that situations and experiences are often fuzzy, messy, or icky - that is, questions of consent do not always have the clear answers that we might like to imagine. In this class, we will use recent literary, film, and pop culture expressions of unpleasant, ambiguous, and ambivalent sex to explore and interrogate feminist and queer theories of consent, sexual harm, and autonomy. Works will include Kristen Roupenian's "Cat Person," Patricia Lockwood's "Rape Joke," Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa, along with work by Sara Ahmed, Wendy Brown, Octavia Butler, Angela Davis, Joseph J. Fischel, Ida B. Wells and others. Topics include philosophies of consent, concepts of consent in queer, racialized, minoritized, disabled, and incarcerated communities, the experience of survivors, and alternatives to consent.
Course Attributes: EN S; AS SSC; AS SC; BU Eth; BU BA