The talk will feature a conversation about visual culture, history, and sexuality studies between an eminent film studies scholar, Linda Williams, and a pioneering community activist and writer (and UCSC alum), Susie Bright. Between them, Williams and Bright represent a generation of thought and activism in the popular and scholarly study of sexuality, obscenity in art, and feminism. In January 2013, Bright gave a "Sexual State of the Union" lecture at Cornell University on the occasion of the donation of her personal archives to Cornell's special collections. Williams, Professor of Film & Media and Rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley, has spent much of her career thinking about the place of pornography and erotic visual culture in academic film study and mass culture. This dialogue takes this year's Arts Division Lecture Series' theme, "Engaging the Mind," as an invitation to consider the place of sexuality and sexuality studies in the arts, and to explore the relationship between art-making, art-viewing, and identity.
Linda Williams (UC Berkeley)
Linda Williams is Professor of Film & Media and Rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley. Williams’s first book, Figures of Desire (1981), was a study of the cinematic surrealist avant-garde. Much of her research has since centered on popular American genres and modes of moving pictures, particularly those that make a strong appeal to the bodies of viewers. In 1989 she published Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible,” a feminist study of hard-core pornography that has been widely translated and issued in a new edition (1999). In 2001 Williams published Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson, a book about melodrama and American racial melodramas. More recently, she has published Screening Sex (2008). She has recently completed a book about The Wire.
Susie Bright (Independent Scholar, Author, and Publisher)Susie Bright is a best-selling author and the country’s preeminent feminist sex writer. She was the founding editor of On Our Backs, a woman-run feminist magazine of erotica and activism. A UCSC graduate, Susie Bright is one of the world’s most respected voices on sexual politics, as well as an award-winning writer who has edited and published hundreds of the finest writers and journalists working in American literature and progressive activism today.
Part of the 2013 Arts Division Lecture Series "Engaging the Mind"
free and open to the public