Publié le 24 avril 2008 Mis à jour le 21 septembre 2023

24 avril

En collaboration avec le Centre d’Anthropologie culturelle (ULB)

Don Kulick
(New York University)


Currently in the natural sciences like evolutionary biology, physical anthropology and neurology, there are intense debates about the nature, purpose and evolution of the female orgasm. Since women don't have to orgasm in order to conceive, why did evolution select for orgasm? In trying to account for female orgasmic potential, scientists debate the status of animal orgasm and how it changed and evolved into human orgasm. These debates involve scientists making claims about the animal sexual pleasure.
What is the cultural context in which scientists like these feel themselves able to discuss animal sexual pleasure and evaluate it? How is animal sexual pleasure represented more generally in society? This talk will examine three genres that depict the erotic lives of animals: nature films, the literature on theriogenology or animal reproduction, and pornography. Animal erotics is also discussed in relation to the burgeoning philosophical literature on the human-animal divide.
How might a discussion of animal erotics illuminate the ethical visions of philosophers who write about animals?


Don Kulick is a Professor of Anthropology at New York University. Former chair of the Department of Anthropology at Stockholm University, he is currently the Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) at NYU. He has conducted ethnographic research in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Italy, and Sweden. From the rural New Guinean rainforest to an urban Brazilian favela, to the liberal Swedish welfare state, he has two primary areas of theoretical expertise: the study of gender and sexuality and linguistic anthropology. His publications address topics such as prostitution, pornography, queer theory, discourses of sexuality and the European Union, reflexive epistemology of gender, the anthropology of fat, the anthropology of desire and the unconscious as well as language socialization of children, language death, the anthropology of literacy and indigenous forms of Christianity. His books include "Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction: Socialization, Self, and Syncretism in a Papua New Guinean Village" (1992), "Taboo: Sex, Identity, and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork" (1995, with Margaret Willson), "Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture Among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes" (1998), "Language and Sexuality" (2003, with Deborah Cameron), "Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession" (2005, with Anne Meneley) and "The Language and Sexuality Reader" (2006, with Deborah Cameron).