Friday, Jan 30, 2009, 2 PM – 7 PM

Is Sex the Subject of Morality?

Under the impact of feminism and psychology, romantic and sexual relationships in mainstream western culture have fallen outside the pur-view of moral judgment. In the realm of sexuality, freedom has become the only value to be celebrated.
Two primary cultural responses have been formulated to respond to the perceived threat that freedom may pose to romantic and domestic sexual relations. On the right, there are calls for a return to Victorian values of chastity and monogamy. The other response has been offered by feminists, who seek to legislate and regulate the relations between men and women by instilling norms of equality and symmetry.
But beyond norms of equity, the left has not addressed the question of what people involved in sexual relationships owe to each other and why. This workshop will discuss whether a progressive politics of emotions and sexuality must give up on an attempt to proffer moral categories in the realm of intimate relations. For example, should monogamy and faithfulness be part of the moral lexicon of the left? If yes, how can they be made compatible with an emancipatory politics of sexuality?

Concept: Eva Illouz, Jerusalem/Berlin; Susan Neiman, Potsdam
Participants: Laura Kipnis, Evanston, Ill.; Mariam Lau, Berlin; Felix de Mendelssohn, Vienna; Dieter Thomä, St. Gallen

The event will be held in English