Rhetoric of Sexual Exchange
182 | CCN: 77941
Sexuality, in most ways of defining or historicizing the term, is a rhetorical matter, inasmuch as it is a production of acts of communication—whether those acts involve fluids, promises, bank accounts, pronounced fealties to particular acts or particular genders, or even when their entire purpose is in fact to forestall personal exchanges. It is in such a way that the sexual will be considered an exchange in this course, one that must be considered rhetorically. And as such, sexuality is also an ethical and political matter, as any act of communication must be. How, then, should we think about the ethics and politics of sexuality? Can a particular form of sexual exchange have a political or ethical value unto itself? How should we understand rhetorics of sexuality?
This course will consider such questions using theories of sexuality from Freud’s infamous Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality to Foucault’s History of Sexuality to contemporary queer theory, and topics of sexuality such as masochism, pornography, fetishism, barebacking, and marriage.