Join us for a conversation with Laura Kipnis, a cultural critic and former video artist whose work focuses on sexual politics, aesthetics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior and various other crevices of the American psyche.
Liberal institutions, from art museums to higher education are under pressure from feminists and identity-oriented progressives to treat newly created categories of offense, umbrage and vulnerability as public health issues, to shut down injurious forms of expression. Advocates of proscription, code-making, shaming and speech regulation on the cultural left are partnering with corporate HR departments and campus administrators to advocate job loss and penury as suitable punishments for an expanding range of offenses, especially when it comes to sexuality.
Is this the push and pull of cultural politics as usual, or a newer, “neoliberal” variation, a “war on crime” transplanted to the cultural sphere?
Kipnis's latest book, "Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus," was prompted by becoming the subject of a Title IX investigation for writing an essay. Her six previous books, which include "Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation," "How to Become A Scandal," and "Against Love: A Polemic," have been translated into fifteen languages. She is a professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University.
This talk is part of the Ethics Center's Wesson Lecture series, which examines problems of democracy. There will be a discussion seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m., which is intended as a response to this lecture.
(Note: The title for this talk is a quote that Kipnis attributes to the late literary critic Kenneth Burke.)