On Monday, 10/12, at 3:30pm, Professor Benjamin Kahan will give a speak on “Sex in the Age of Fordism,” in 1210 McClung Tower.
Kahan theorizes an etiological rather than an epistemological approach to the history of sexuality. His talk will explore industrialization’s transformation not just of the ways that we produce objects, but also how it is imagined to invent sexual objects. More specifically, he will consider how Fordism was understood by Antonio Gramsci and Sherwood Anderson to standardize sexual object choice in order to create the hegemonic system of sexual orientation dominant in America and much of Europe. This talk will attend to the ways in which Anderson’s classic American text Winesburg, Ohio (1919) both locates consumer and sexual objects at the center of modern fields of desire and imagines the inhabitants of the small Ohio town to enact non-industrialized and non-standardized sexual pleasures.
Benjamin Kahan is an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Sydney. He is the author of Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life (Duke University Press, 2013) and is the editor of Heinrich Kaan’s Psychopathia Sexualis (1844): A Classic Text in the History of Sexuality which is under contract with Cornell University Press.