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Laura Kipnis

Related: academic porn - cultural criticism - cultural theory


Laura Kipnis is an American cultural theorist/critic and former video artist. --http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/rtf/faculty/Laura_Kipnis/ [Oct 2005]

Academic porn

James Atlas, the editor of the Penguin Lives biography series has called her work academic porn.

Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America - Laura Kipnis

  • Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America - Laura Kipnis [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Laura Kipnis, who teaches film at Northwestern University, adopts an unpopular stance: that of speaking for those whose sexual tendencies stray from the acceptable path. As such, she adds a different perspective in the always-raging debate on the role of pornography in America. Among her arguments is that pornography is often overlooked as a class issue, couched instead almost always as a morality matter. Realizing that many of those employed by the sex industry and those who support it are separated by class from those who deem it so unsavory, provides a particular insight into the perspective of those sitting in judgment. --amazon.com

    PopMatters.com review
    Bound and Gagged dares to deconstruct the most reviled sub-genre of popular culture by looking into the dark heart of pornography and exposing the hypocrisy that lies within our attitudes about sex and porn. She not only takes porn and sexuality seriously as a cultural form but manages to make some sense out of some of the seemingly senseless fetishes and obsessions that haunt the modern American male (and to a lesser degree the modern American female.)

    One of the most striking things about Kipnis' book in comparison with other academic tomes on pornography is that you get the sense that she has actually sat down and watched and read a fair amount of pornographic material. Kipnis doesn't flinch as she talks about child molesters, fat fetishists, sadomasochism, and the cultural weight of the latest issue of Hustler magazine. Yet, while her ruminations often border on becoming their own perverse form of erotica, you never get the sense that she derived any particular pleasure from her viewings. (A distinct advantage that a woman dealing with this material has over a man. A man writing serious criticism of pornography would automatically be assumed to be a voyeur at the least, a fan at the worst.) --Mark Zeltner via http://www.popmatters.com/books/bound-and-gagged.html [2004]

    Against Love: A Polemic (2003) Laura Kipnis

  • Against Love: A Polemic (2003) Laura Kipnis [Amazon.com][FR] [DE] [UK]
    In this ragingly witty yet contemplative look at the discontents of domestic and erotic relationships, Kipnis (Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America) combines portions of the slashing sexual contrarianism of Mailer, the scathing antidomestic wit of early Roseanne Barr and the coolly analytical aesthetics of early Sontag: "Aren't all adulterers amateur collagists? We're scavengers and improvisers, constructing odd assemblages out of detritus and leftovers: a few scraps of time and some dormant emotions...." With a razor-sharp intelligence and a gleeful sense of irony, Kipnis dismantles the myths of romance surrounding monogamy and makes the case for why adultery is a reasonable, often used, escape hatch. Kipnis is often most funny when at her most provocative ("Feel free to take a second to mull this over, or to make a quick call: `Hi hon, just checking in!' "), but even her moments of sarcastic humor can have a sobering effect, as when Kipnis considers the reasons behind the public's obsessive need for reading about real and fictional stories of spousal murders, noting that "perhaps these social pathologies and aberrations of love are the necessary fallout from the social conventions of love." Kipnis is adroit at detailing (sometimes with "notoriously unreliable" sexual self-reporting statistics) how our desire for fidelity is often at odds with basic human needs for personal freedom, and is terrific in dissecting how-or so Kipnis's case goes-"family values" politicians like Newt Gingrich fail miserably to live up to their own rhetoric. In the end, she concludes that adultery and fidelity have to exist side-by-side: "let's face it: purity always flirts with defilement." Kipnis balances her scintillating, on-target observations on straying with an honest sense of compassion for human experience. --Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. , amazon.com

    Sex-positive feminists view pornography as a crucial part of the sexual revolution that led to women's liberation, and see conservative views of morality as designed to fortify an oppressive status quo. A notable example is sociologist Laura Kipnis from Northwestern University. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography_movement#Feminist_objections [Jan 2006]

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