Olio Seminar | Sex, Power, and Self: A Feminist Exploration of Pleasure and Pain


This is a 4-part seminar taking place on Mondays July 16th, 23rd, 30th & August 6th

Can a woman claim to be liberated and simultaneously take delight in her own sexual submission? How can we demand absolute consent, while also asking for discomfort and pain? Are we simply acting out “power” outside ourselves, or, are we recreating the power schemas were are trying to escape? What, exactly, constitutes pleasure? And are we certain we can distinguish it from pain? This seminar will be an exploration of these questions and more.  We will meet four times, and will be devoted to analyzing and discussing a classic text in the field of feminist theory and sexuality. 

This seminar will include an introduction to Foucault’s landmark work on the historical invention of sexuality, The History of Sexuality. As a group we will discuss such topics as:


The Body and the Self

We will dive into The History of Sexuality. First published in 1976, the work remains foundational to any study of the relationship between sex, power, and the idea of the self. Indeed, the body is neither a fact nor a reality; it is a domain of experience capable of profound pleasures, extreme anguish, and the ambiguous space in between. We will also examine a few short excerpts from Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.

 

Feminism and BDSM

Feminism and BDSM have historically had a tense relationship. While some feminists denounce BDSM for it’s degradation of women and it’s celebration of violence, others applaud BDSM for its focus on consent, agency, and its ability to create new discourses of power. We will turn to two classic texts from feminist theory to confront this dilemma: Audre Lorde’s The Uses of the Erotic, and Gayle Rubin’s Thinking Sex.

 

The Self?

At the heart of our debates around sexuality and power there lies a troubled and fleeting idea: the notion of the self. The “I” and the problematic “You.” For our last meeting, we will shift gears a bit and read a piece of fiction—Milan Kundera’s short story, “The Hitchhiking Game.” Kundera’s gift for writing about the painful and pleasurable place where self collides with power and sexuality is profound. Our last meeting will be devoted to analyzing this story, and reflecting on the possibilities of liberation from shame from abandoning the self once and for all.

 




Location: Nowadays

56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Trees, ping pong, checkers, grass to lie in, fresh air, and the occasional passing freight train.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Mar 27

Urban Development: From Reconstruction to Gentrification

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 28

Catfishing: The Artist as Trickster in Factual Fictions

Taught by Ted Barrow
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Mar 29

Self-Love or Narcissism?

Taught by Skye Cleary
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Mar 30

Scenius Summit 2019: Apiary Book Launch

Taught by No Professor Weekend
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $125

Apr 5

OlioMuse | Beethoven's Minor Mood

Taught by Gil Harel
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $25

Apr 7

Olio Breakfast Club | Death & Bagels on a Sunday Morning

Taught by Jeanne Proust
10:30 a.m. at North 3rd St. Market - Williamsburg

Sign Up - $25

Apr 9

Madame(s) X: Muses, Makers, & Shifting Identities

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 13

OlioHouse | Music & The Feast for Senses

Taught by Whitney George
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Apr 23

The Death of Art, The Rise of the Image

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 27

OlioHouse | Found Poetry: Composting Words

Taught by Heather O'Neill
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


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