The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century

Wed April 13th 2022, 4:30 - 6:00pm
Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center

Sex is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart. Since #MeToo many have fixed on consent as the key framework for achieving sexual justice. Yet consent is a blunt tool. To grasp sex in all its complexity – its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power – we need to move beyond 'yes and no', wanted and unwanted. We need to interrogate the fraught relationships between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, carceralism and accountability, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation. We need to rethink sex as a political phenomenon. 

Amia Srinivasan is the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford. Her academic work focuses on epistemology, political philosophy, the history and theory of feminism, and metaphilosophy. Her essays and criticism – on topics as diverse as sex, death, octopuses, anger, surfing and the politics of pronouns – have appeared in the London Review of Books, where she is a contributing editor, The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement and Harper's. Her book, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-first Century, is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

This talk is part of the Ethics Center's Wesson Lecture series, which examines problems of democracy. There will be a discussion seminar on Thursday, April 14, which is intended as a response to this lecture. 

Hybrid Event. In-person attendance is open to the general public.