SG – Love & Sex in Times of Social Safety: The Paradoxes of Modern Love

How do we do love nowadays? How is this dependent on societal norms and biases? What are the alternatives? Join our conversation with anthropologists Rahil Roodsaz & Katrien De Graeve.

Organisator Studium Generale

di 14 februari 2023 20:00

Locatie Impulse, gebouwnummer 115

In conversation with critical anthropologists Dr. Rahil Roodsaz (University of Amsterdam) & Dr. Katrien De Graeve (University of Gent, Belgium)

Today, the world of commerce shouts at us: Celebrate Love! And indeed, to be in love, to love someone – it seems so easy. You are in it, or not. You feel it, or you don’t. Relationships work, or they don’t. But, as probably most of us can testify, love isn’t that simple. You cannot demand someone else to love you back. A monogamous commitment is not a safeguard against cheating. Open or polyamourous relationships may reflect more care in explicitly negotiating the terms in which they are carried out, but they don’t necessarily make for just and fair relationships. How do we navigate the difficult tension between the longing for being with the other and the need for autonomy? To what extent are the many ways we do love dependent on and constrained by societal norms, narratives and biases? What might alternative forms of love look like and do for us? Join the conversation with critical anthropologists Rahil Roodsaz and Katrien De Graeve. In their co-edited volume Intimate Revolutions they and others explore the revolutionary potential of love and sex. Are you in for an alternative Valentine’s Day?

About series ‘Love & Sex in Time of Social Safety’

What is it to “really” love someone? Where does intimacy start? How to have sex these days? How to flirt properly? What is a good one-night-stand? Can one have more than one sexual partner or romantic relationship without being shamed for it? Is it okay to not want to have sex at all? In this series, we explore together what intimacy, love and sex might mean nowadays, in a time that has put both sexual liberation and social safety high up on the agenda. What might seem as a private domain is, after all, also highly political: a place where social norms of patriarchy, heteronormativity and monogamy play out, as well as a potential site of liberating from those, experimenting with other forms and initiating social transformation. How can we do love and sex in a way that stays away from sexual harassment, unwanted intimacy, sexism, trans- and queer phobia and other forms of discrimination? How can we do better justice to the huge diversity of our own and each other’s erotic and romantic preferences, desires and wishes? Let us talk about love and sex!

About Rahil Roodsaz

Rahil Roodsaz is cultural anthropologist and assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. She studies the diversification and the paradoxical aspects of romantic relationships in late modern society.

About Katrien De Graeve

Katrien De Graeve is associate professor in gender studies at Ghent University. Her research interests include the anthropology of gender, sexuality and old age, and the anthropology of love, care, families and relationships.

Photo: ©Michiel Devijver