Vaginal Impressions: The Affective Biopolitics of the First Women Physicians

3 Mar 2015
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

652 Barrows Hall

Event Type
Special Event

Kyla Schuller
Assistant Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies, Rutgers University

This talk proposes that the notion of the human nervous system as an impressible, malleable entity continuously remade by contact with its environment lies at the heart of nineteenth-century U.S. cultural politics. Theorizing “impressibility” as a nineteenth-century keyword linking race and sexuality, the talk explores how scientists, reformers, and writers alike saw themselves as working in concert with a neurobiological substrate that they conceived of as, in its ideal form, fluid, malleable, and forever in dynamic exchange with surrounding bodies, objects, and forces. I show how the modern formations of race and sexual difference consolidated in part as a discourse of the variegated capacity of neurological responsiveness. Before genetics, sensory contact between bodies and the differentially affective qualities of the human nervous system was understood to shape hereditary legacies. The talk’s investigation of the pre-determinist materiality of the body provides an important perspective on the biopolitics of affect and the stakes of feminist materialisms. See more here.

Part of the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture 2014-15 Speaker Series. This event is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Center for the Study of Sexual Culture

Our Events

Other Events of Interest