Colloquium with Prof. Cahill on “Miscarriage and Intercorporeality” | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

Colloquium with Prof. Cahill on “Miscarriage and Intercorporeality”

November 3, 2016 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

The colloquium will center on Prof. Cahill's published article, available on the GSWS Portal or from


In this article I will revisit the question of what I term the continuum of heteronormativesexual interactions, that is, the idea that purportedly ethically acceptable heterosexual interactionsare conceptually, ethically, and politically associated with instances of sexual violence.Spurred by recent work by psychologist Nicola Gavey (2005), I conclude that some of myearlier critiques of Catharine MacKinnon’s theoretical linkages between sexual violence andnormative heterosex are wanting. In addition, neither MacKinnon’s theory nor my critiqueof it seem up to the task of providing an ethical account of the examples of “unjust sex” thatGavey has described. I come to the conclusion that an ethical analysis of sexual interactionsrequires a focus on sexual desire, but that desire cannot take on the by now heavily criticizedrole of consent. Rather than looking for the presence or absence of sexual desire prior to sexualencounters as a kind of ethical certification of them, we ought instead to focus on theefficacy of that sexual desire, that is, its ability (or lack thereof) to shape an encounter insubstantial and meaningful ways.

View the event flyer here.

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