Sex is both at the core and the edge of the family life.
In an era when the conceptual and political transformation of the family is most palpable on a global scale, often generating impassioned debates among those wedded or even indifferent to "the family values," this panel seeks to explore family formations through their deepest open secrets: sex, sexuality and sexual practices.
Lisa Duggan is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.
She is also the author of The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy.
Elizabeth A. Grosz is an Australian feminist academic living and working in the USA. She is known for philosophical interpretations of the work of French philosophers Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, as well as her readings of the works of French feminists, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva and Michele Le Doeuff. She has mainly written on questions of corporeality and their relations to the sciences and the arts.
She has held tenured positions at the University of Sydney 1978-1991, Monash University 1992-1998 and SUNY Buffalo 1999-2001. In 2002, she became a professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University.
Kyoo Lee is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. As of 2009-2010, she is a Mellon Resident Fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA. She obtained a PhD in Philosophy (2001) from the University of Warwick, UK, and is ABD (since 2003) for a PhD in English at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.
Trained in European philosophy and literary theory, she previously taught at the University of Warwick (Seminar Tutor, 1997-8), the University of Memphis (Visiting Professor, 2003-4), the University of Tasmania (Visiting Professor, Summer 2004), LaGrange College (Assistant Professor, Fall 2004 - Spr 2007), Wuhan University (Visiting Professor, Summer 2006).
Gayle Salamon is Assistant Professor of English at Princeton University. She received a Ph.D. in rhetoric from the University of California-Berkeley, where she wrote her dissertation on Assuming a Body: Transgenderism and Rhetorics of Materiality. She has held a research fellowship at Brown University's Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, and has taught a broad spectrum of courses at UC-Berkeley on the topics of embodiment and gender.
Her new research project at Princeton will explore the role that proprioception and chronic pain can play in shaping a bodily sense of self. Her teaching this year will include courses on themes of "passing" in modern literature, and transgender theory. Salamon holds the new LGBT Studies Fellowship, funded by an endowment from the Fund for Reunion, the bisexual, transgendered, gay and lesbian alumni association of Princeton.
Lisa Duggan, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, argues that the struggle for gay marriage rights is partly due to security concerns triggered by the current economic climate. "Those arguments that gay liberation and feminism made that sounded freeing, in this environment can sound more frightening than freeing."
Gayle Salamon, assistant professor of English at Princeton University, describes a law suit filed by the parents of Lawrence King, an openly-gay 15-year-old who was shot dead by fellow classmate Brandon McInerney.
The suit charges E.O. Green Junior High School for failing to protect King from his own gender transgressive behavior.
Civil-rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals. Supporters of gay rights seek to eliminate sodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults and call for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, credit, lending, housing, marriage, adoption, public accommodations, and other areas of life. The first group to campaign publicly was founded in Berlin in 1897 by Magnus Hirschfeld (18681935) and had 25 local chapters in Europe by 1922; suppressed by the Nazis, it did not survive World War II. The first U.S. support group, the Mattachine Society, was founded in Los Angeles c. 1950; the Daughters of Bilitis, for lesbians, was founded in San Francisco in 1955. The Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality COC, founded as the COC (Cultuur en Ontspannings Centrum [Culture and Recreation Center]) in 1946 and headquartered in Amsterdam, is a prominent European group and the oldest existing gay rights organization. Many date the expansion of the modern gay rights movement to the Stonewall rebellion in New York City in 1969, when a raid by police on a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn provoked a riot by bar patrons. Stonewall came to be commemorated annually by the observance of Gay and Lesbian Pride Week in cities around the world. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (founded 1978), headquartered in Brussels, lobbies for human rights and opposes discrimination against homosexuals. Although the movement is strongest in western Europe and North America, gay rights organizations exist in many countries throughout the world. Among the major issues pressed by gay rights advocates in the 1990s and into the 21st century were the passage of hate crime laws and the establishment of legal rights for homosexuals to marry, adopt children, and serve openly in the military.
On Darwinism, reproduction, and sexuality.
There are a couple of errors in Elizabeth Grosz's account of the relationship between sexuality and reproduction and its treatment by evolutionary biologists.
Firstly, Darwin’s followers, which is a rather odd way to describe evolutionary biologists, have indeed considered the issue.
The Israeli scientist Amotz Zhavi named the apparent paradox of the increased threat that sexual activities can pose to an individual’s life “the handicap principle”. The British biologist Richard Dawkins has endorsed it. The late William Hamilton pioneered investigation into the “why” of sexual reproduction. Thus it is inaccurate to claim that biologists since Darwin have ignored the obvious questions surrounding sexuality and reproduction.
Secondly, the argument presented that because there is more to sexual behaviour than reproduction that it follows that there is no link between the two – in the speaker’s words “At the level of most species the link between sexuality and reproduction is utterly contingent, random, and accidental” – is not valid.
Put simply, while there can be sexuality without reproduction, there cannot be reproduction without sexuality.
It is only human technology which is capable of breaking the link. In other words, while Grosz’s contention is not true when looking at evolutionary history it might be very true in the future.
How can the parents be so ignorant as to the real cause of this tragedy? It was clearly the homophobic sentiment of the classmate of the victim that resulted in his death, not the boy's "flamboyant" expression of his sexuality. Really now, are you going to tell the kid that being gay is taboo and he should presented to be heterosexual instead?