Gender Studies | Sex, Scandal, and Privacy
G302 | 2418 | Professor Fedwa Malti-Douglas


We tend to think of sexuality and sexual practices as one of the most
private domains in our world today. Yet, what happens when sex and
scandal come together in more public spaces such as courts of law.
This seminar will examine the issues of privacy, testimony, and the
body in some landmark cases, such as the Lewinsky Affair and the
Bobbitt case. We shall also examine other materials (e.g comic strips)
that deal with political and sexual scandals. Some of the questions we
shall address include: How does the gender of an individual alter the
nature of the testimony? How are male and female bodies portrayed and
subjected to investigation, as they become themselves the domains of
inquiry? How does the investigation of the privacy of sexuality
intersect with our notions of privacy and shame? How do the different
media (including electronic ones) contribute to this erosion of
privacy? How do the languages of the different media help us to
understand the complex issues of privacy?