Monday, September 24
6 p.m.
Russell House

Click here to view the video of the lecture.

Cultural Trauma, National Memory: BDSM Play with Slavery and Fascism

Margot Weiss

Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology

This talk explores the temporality of desire—the relationships between erotics, cultural memory, and histories of national trauma. It draws on ethnographic fieldwork with BDSM practitioners in San Francisco and Berlin to focus on what practitioners call "cultural trauma play": play that re-performs real-world or historical trauma. I compare the eroticization of two emblematic national traumas—the Holocaust in Germany and chattel slavery in the United States- and contrast the political and national identifications at work in such play in order to explore what we might claim to know about the historicity of desire.