Global Sexual Economies

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Global Sexual Economies

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The Beatles once sang, “Money can’t buy me love.” This truism pervades Western approaches to governance, jurisprudence, and social welfare. But how accurate is the assumption? This course will unpack the Beatles’ statement by tracing the development of Western understandings of love, money, and morality. We will cover key intellectual debates surrounding reciprocity and exchange, the social construction of emotion, exploitation versus agency, and theories of materiality. How do material objects (including money) compel emotion? ‘Make’ people? Substantiate relationships and social structure? Manifest power? Students will explore these questions through examination of ethnographic evidence from Russia, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States. In our analyses of transnational mail-order brides, strip club regulars, sugar daddies, “kept” men, and sex trafficking, students will deconstruct fundamental social categories and develop a critical stance towards the study of capital, sexuality, and emotion.


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