Renkin - 2017 - Sexological Subjects.pdf

Renkin - 2017 - Sexological Subjects.pdf - Central European...

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Central European University, Department of Gender Studies 1 Sexological Subjects: Sex, Science, and the Making of Modern Society GENS 5081 MA Level Class Winter 2017 Hadley Z. Renkin Office: Zrínyi 512 [email protected] Office Hours: TBA Class Time: M/W 1:30-3pm Place: TBA Course Description The scientific study of sex and sexuality has been a key mechanism of biopower, central to the shaping of modern societies and their identities, communities, and politics. Through its complex and changing intersections with categories of race, class, gender, criminality, morality, health and illness, it has constituted and been constituted by distinctions between order and disorder, civilized and savage, and Outsider and Insider, in ways that have defined and legitimated the borders of proper and improper being and acting for both bodies and societies. This course will interrogate a range of these intersections and their effects, exploring the science of sexuality as a form of cultural production par excellence. It will investigate both the ways in which scientific knowledge about sex and sexuality is embedded in historically and culturally specific contexts and assumptions, and how it functions to produce and reproduce diverse identities, practices, and relationships. Reading not only scholarly analyses, but also primary sexological sources and relevant historical events, we will focus on the ways this particular form of knowledge production has served to secure and maintain certain understandings of bodies, behaviors, desires, and relationships, while foreclosing alternatives to them, and thus to not only naturalize but reshape particular relations of sociality and power. We will also strive to remain attentive to the ways in which the production of scientific knowledge about sex and sexuality has both appropriated existing and created new identities and communities, and in doing so at once stimulated new and contained old forms of resistance. Topics considered include: sexology’s scientific ancestors, the emergence of sexology as a discipline; disorderly women, colonized and racialized Others, masturbation panics, sexualized diseases, scientific racism and fascist science. Learning outcomes: This course will enable students to grasp more clearly the nature and effects of scientific practices and discourses about sexuality as cultural phenomena. It will acquaint them with the wide range of domains in which the scientific production of knowledge about sexuality has impacted and intersected with other social practices and
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2 structures, and increase their critical understanding of the mutually constitutive consequences of these intersections for modern relations of power, inequality, inclusion, and exclusion. Through frequent oral presentations and written critical commentaries, the course will hone students’ abilities to perceive and articulate both key issues and debates and underlying connections between course topics, other social and cultural issues, and their own experiences.
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