Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, by Margot Weiss

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 -
4:00pm to 5:15pm
Event Location: 
Chemistry building
CB W55
Iowa City, IA 52242

Margot Weiss, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, Wesleyan University

"Techniques of Pleasure" is an interdisciplinary study of the San Francisco Bay Area's pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging. In this talk, she analyzes the eroticization of inequalities in performances of heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a "safe space" separate from real-world inequality. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit that connects the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms.

Margot Weiss is assistant professor of American studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University. She specializes in the ethnography of contemporary sexual cultures and politics. Her first book, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press 2011), is an ethnography of BDSM (kinky) communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also completing a small comparative project on the queer temporality of BDSM play with national trauma in the United States and Germany. Her current research, Visions of Sexual Justice, is a comparative ethnography of discourses of sexual rights, freedom, and justice among contemporary LGBT/queer activists in the United States and Canada. The research is supported by a Wenner-Gren Post-Ph.D. Research Grant, Osmundsen Initiative Award, and CLAGS Joan Heller-Diane Bernard Senior Fellowship in Lesbian and Gay Studies.

People with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Iowa events. If you require special accommodations to attend this event, please contact us at 335-2752 so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

Co-sponsored by: American Studies, Anthropology, Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies, and the Obermann Center.