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Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative

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Katherine Sender, Communication Studies, U-M
Same-Sex Materials in Sex Museums: Cosmopolitanism and Commodification

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
3:10 p.m.
2239 Lane Hall

Professor of Communication Studies, University of Michigan 

How do sex museums stage same-sex erotic materials, and for what purposes? Drawing on fieldwork at twenty-two museums in Asia, Europe, and North America, I consider the relationship among sexuality, consumer culture, and global flows of cultural and economic capital. Museums ranging from highly commercial tourist sites to highbrow civic institutions exhibit same sex materials to demonstrate their investment in a cosmopolitan community of sexual progressives. I question the civil rights promise of cosmopolitanism in the context of museums’ commodification of sexuality and their disavowal of ongoing international inequities in sexual and economic social justice. ¬†

Katherine Sender comes to Communication Studies at the University of Michigan from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and previously, the University of Pennsylvania. She is a professor of media specializing in gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ representation. Her research areas span television, audiences, cultural production, consumer culture, and globalization. Her current research project focuses on sex museums as sites to investigate transnational sexual mobilities.

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