with response by Shiloh Whitney
This event will take place in Homer Babbidge Library 4-209. It will also be livestreamed. To attend virtually, please register.
Defined in 1886 as a “peculiar perversion of agency,” masochism is one of many pathologized sexual interests, activities, and identities that have begun to shift into the mainstream. This talk contextualizes masochism within histories of racial violence, imperialism, and sexology, and engages new cultural texts that employ these histories for purposes of healing, pleasure, comedy, and social justice. Moving from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs (1870) to the “Feminist Sex Wars” and the Fifty Shades phenomenon, the talk traces the cultural shift from seeing masochism as a pathology or symptom to understanding it as a technique for individual healing in a neoliberal context. The talk concludes with readings of Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play (2019) and Tina Horn’s SFSX (2020) for their illumination of masochism’s undertheorized potential as a queer world-building technique.
For a list of all our events go to: https://humanities.uconn.edu/2021/09/27/2021-2022-events/