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Joseph J. Fischel, “Kink & Football, Consent & Dignity”


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2018 Distinguished Alumni Lecture
Joseph J. Fischel, PhD '11
“Kink & Football, Consent & Dignity”

BDSM draws its moral, political, even erotic energies from consent talk. Yet erotic cannibalism and other lethal sex practices challenge consent as a guarantor of permissible, let alone good, sex. If consent does not vindicate any and all rough sex, what about other rough play, like football? Fischel argues that analogizing kinky sex to football to legitimate the former ultimately indicts the latter. Drawing on material from his forthcoming manuscript, "Screw Consent," and from his current research on the conceptual promiscuity of dignity, Fischel proposes that neither consent nor dignity deliver the sexual politics they promise.

Joseph Fischel is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Fischel is a theorist of social and sexual justice. His research on the regulation of sex, gender, and sexuality is informed by normative political theory, queer studies, and critical race and feminist legal theory. His first two books interrogate consent as the magnetizing, dominant metric of modern sex law and late modern sexual ethics. Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) argues that the sociolegal figures of the recidivistic sex offender, the innocent child and the heroic homosexual invest consent with its normative power while obfuscating more pervasive but less perceptible forms of sexual injury and gendered violence. Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent won the 2017 Foundations in Political Theory First Book Award from the American Political Science Association.

Fischel received his PhD from the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago in 2011. His dissertation, which developed into his first book, was supported by coursework, mentorship, and/or fellowships from the Political Science Department, the University of Chicago Law School, and the Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality. His dissertation received the 2012 Julian Mezey Best Dissertation Award from the Association of the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.

Free and open to the public.