Bad Romance: The Ethics of Love, Sex, and Desire: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference at Harvard


Friday, March 29, 2019 (All day) to Saturday, March 30, 2019 (All day)


Thompson Room (Room 110), Barker Center

Keynote Speaker: Nancy Bauer, Tufts University
Panel Respondents: Moira Weigel, Robert Reid-Pharr, and others


The #MeToo movement has raised questions about the ethics of love, sex, and desire. Narrowly, it has raised questions about sexual consent and violation; broadly, it has raised questions about attraction, power, monogamy, adultery, sex work, and more. Thinkers and artists throughout history, from Plato and Sappho to Foucault and Martha Nussbaum, have addressed these topics. In light of the current crisis in sexual ethics, this graduate student conference reexamines how we should conduct ourselves in romantic and sexual relationships from an interdisciplinary perspective.


Friday, March 29

2:30pm-4:00pm | Panel 1, Consent

Respondent: Gina Schouten

  • Angela Sun (University of Michigan, Philosophy): Consent Ex Ante
  • Elise Woodard (University of Michigan, Philosophy)
  • Emily Kanner (Harvard University, Slavic Languages and Literatures): Blessed Among Women: The Romantic Rape Narrative in Pushkin’s Gabrieliad
4:00pm-5:00pm | Coffee Break
5:00pm-6:00pm | Keynote

Nancy Bauer, “Let’s Talk About Sex: Ethical Intercourse in the Age of #MeToo”

7:00pm-8:00pm | Dinner


Saturday, March 30

8:00am-9:00am | Breakfast
9:00am-10:30am | Panel 2, Global Sexualities
  • Frantiska Zezuláková Schormová (Harvard University, Literary Studies): “Me, Too, but What? Socialist Sex, Translatability, and Milan Kundera”
  • Sebastian Jackson (Harvard University, African and African American Studies): Black Peril, Vanilla Nightmares: Representations of Race, Sex, and Desire in the (Post)colonial Imagination
  • Andy Jo (Columbia University, English and Comparative Literature): Fertility sans Paternity: On Queer Indulgence and the Refusal of Heterosexual Moderation in Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden
10:30am-11:00am | Break
11:30am-1:00pm | Panel 3, Stylized Sexualities before the 19th Century
  • Emma Adler (Harvard University, English): The Cool Girl and the Austen Heroine
  • Demetra Vogiatzaki (Harvard University, History and Theory of Architecture): L’ Architecture Dangereuse: Architecture, Violence, and Eighteenth‐Century Libertinage
  • Jillian Luke (University of Edinburgh, English): Blushing Maidens and Flushing Whores in Early Modern English Literature
1:00pm-2:00pm | Lunch
2:00pm-3:30pm | Panel 4, E-rotics

Respondent: Moira Weigel

  • Sarah Adeyinka-Skold (University of Pennsylvania, Sociology): Finding Romance in the Digital Age
  • Indiana Seresin (University of Cambridge, English): Men Are Trash: Heteropessimism Online
  • Elle Garner (University of Bristol, Philosophy): Hentai: Because Cartoons Can’t Say No: An Exploration into the Desire for Computer Generated and Hand-Drawn Pornography
3:30pm-4:00pm | Break
4:00pm-5:45pm | Panel 5, Love and Self-Love

Respondent: Amy Hollywood

  • Melissa Rees (University of Toronto, Philosophy): Self-Love and Social Justice
  • Charlie Tyson (Harvard University, English): Self-Love or Self-Cultivation? The Autoerotic and the Aesthete
  • Emily Cox (Yale University, History of Art): The Self-Pleasuring Image: Politics and Desire in Gustav Klimt’s Nude Drawings
  • Peggy Zhu (Cornell University, Philosophy)