Is sex impracticable without power? Unthinkable? Is power a pollutant to sex or a necessary (but surely not sufficient) condition of possibility for sex? Is power the engine or enervation of the erotic? We might think context as the universal qualifier that preempts any universalizing resolution to these questions. Contexts of history, discourse, politics, space, time, technology and circumstance pluralize concepts of power and definitions of sex. Sex and power interpenetrate wantonly. But what kind of moral anchoring or adjudicative work should consent or constraint accomplish, if these are context-dependent abstractions too? Consent strikes us a necessary liberal fiction, but when power takes non-dominative shapes, it seems like consent’s jurisdiction diminishes, or vanishes. And constraint strikes us as an element of coercive sex, except when it makes for great sex. power/sex brings together scholars of Law, English, History, African American Studies, Anthropology and American Studies who are thinking, researching and writing about sex as overdetermined, violent, fun, extraordinary, ordinary, politicized and neoliberalized.
Sex and States of Discipline
Margot Weiss (Wesleyan University)
Crystal Feimster (Yale University)
Tim Dean (University at Buffalo)
Whitney Humanities Center, Auditorium