Sexual Revolution: Freedom, Theory, and Sexual Politics
379 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206
How is sexuality political? With the “Sexual Revolution,” matters of sexual behavior, identity, and representation—from reproduction to gender roles to pornography to sexual orientation—emerged as bedrock issues of public debate, altering irrevocably sexual relations between women and men, and mobilizing movements for gender and sexual equality. What was—and is—the sexual revolution? Why did it erupt? What were the radical possibilities of the sexual revolution—and in what respects did it succeed? What were its structural limitations? To what extent are we heirs to its legacy?
In this class, we’ll consider the multiple dimensions of sexual revolution, beginning with an examination of the relationship between the movement for sexual freedom and theories of repression associated with figures like Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich. Drawing on developments from the 1960s and 1970s, we will scrutinize the limitations of early psychoanalytic frameworks, and explore the ways in which the sexual revolution in practice also opened up new ways of thinking about sexuality in theory. From the Stonewall riots to female “frigidity,” the birth control pill to the AIDS crisis, this course will survey the major milestones of the sexual revolution and consider their relationship to broader social, economic and political transformations. Readings will include selections from Freud, Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Michel Foucault, Adrienne Rich, Judith Butler, Barbara Ehrenreich, Douglas Crimp, and Leo Bersani.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm
March 05 — March 26, 2019