Research Seminar December 16th: Scott Spector - Pillars and Paradoxes: Sexuality and the Self in Law, Science and Literature

Research Seminar December 16th: Scott Spector - Pillars and Paradoxes: Sexuality and the Self in Law, Science and Literature. The seminar will take place in Gilman 449 at 18:00.

11 December 2019

Scott Spector

University of Michigan

Pillars and Paradoxes: Sexuality and the Self in Law, Science and Literature

The German and Austro-Hungarian empires before World War I were important centers for the emergence of our modern ideas about human sexuality. From the first, these ideas about the nature of sex were linked to a picture of the innermost truth of a person: the self. This new image of the sexual self was supported by distinct “pillars” or kinds of knowledge and expertise: a new science of sexuality, a legal apparatus that had to deal with the criminality of deviant desires, and a cultural imaginary generated in art, literature, and the popular press. Upon examination, this new image of the self in law, science, and culture was riddled with paradoxes. What do these paradoxes tell us about the modern Western notions of sex and of the self? And how did the cascade of discussions about criminal and deviant sexuality relate to the way Europeans were coming to look at themselves?

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