Sexuality and Social Power

What is sex, anyway? Is there such a thing as a normal sexuality? Where does desire come from? If sex is such a natural, basic function of the body, then why do sexual practices change so drastically from culture to culture and over the course of time? The list of questions people ask about sex seems endless. Why are these questions so pressing and so difficult to answer? How can something which is a source of so much oppression also be the source of so much creative energy and imagination? This class will explore texts from two traditions which take sex seriously as central to questions of power and social organization. Feminist theory and queer theory have some things in common, but are often in conflict. Are these conflicts resolvable? There will be readings from American and French feminism, Black feminism, queer of color critique, lesbian separatism, masculinity studies, and porn studies.

Prerequisite: Great Books: Philosophy and Social Thought

Margret Grebowicz:

Originally from Poland, Margret grew up mostly in Texas. She studied German literature, philosophy, and art history at the University of Texas at Austin, while working in record stores. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University in 2001, having had the great privilege of studying with Jean-François Lyotard before his death. Her first job was at the University of Houston-Downtown, and during that time she authored numerous articles about various aspects of French philosophy, visual culture, feminist epistemology, and radical democracy, among other subjects, as well as translating poetry from her native Polish into English. Margret has been tenured at both UHD and Goucher College, and received two international fellowships, from the Leverhulme Trust and the Fulbright Foundation. Following a year at University of Dundee as a Leverhulme Fellow, she lived in New York City and worked as a jazz vocalist from 2010 to 2017, while simultaneously commuting to Baltimore to teach at Goucher. Margret serves on the executive committee of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy and co-direct the Transhuman Alliance for Climbing Theory. She is the author of Whale Song (2017, Bloomsbury Academic Press), The National Park to Come (2015, Stanford University Press), Why Internet Porn Matters (2013, Stanford University Press), co-author of Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway (2013, Columbia University Press), and editor of Gender after Lyotard (2007, State University of New York Press). In recent years, she has published articles about time-lapse photography and climate change, bestiality pornography, jazz, and bored dolphins. She still translates occasionally and thinks about returning to music. She still thinks and writes “with” Lyotard.