Center for Ethics
Sex Acts and Pleasure Politics
The Center for Ethics invites critical reflection on sexual behavior in its 2013-2014 theme, "Sex Acts and Pleasure Politics." Our theme will relocate discourse on sexuality from the private to the public sphere and explore the ethics of interpersonal sexual behavior as well as the political, scientific, religious, aesthetic, and legal forces that shape the permissibility and impermissibility of sexual acts. Our understanding of sexuality reflects how our society at any given period is organized, how it represents and 'naturalizes' sex, and how it comes to define the boundary of public and private space, the moral underpinnings of intimate and/or reproductive behavior, and the essential categories of sexual identity. Therefore, the ways in which we practice sex raise deep ethical questions about how we will regulate the economic reach of sexual industries, define normative sexual ethics, respond to sexual violence, and identify and pathologize sexual deviance. This programming theme will explore how culture, race, gender, class, technology, and language can simultaneously both constrain and create greater opportunities for sexual acts, interpersonal intimacy, and pleasure-seeking.
The 2013-2014 Center for Ethics program is co-directed by Jeremy Teissere, Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, and Cathy Ouellette, Assistant Professor of History. The Center for Ethics is directed by Bruce Wightman, Professor of Biology.