Same-Sex Materials in Sex Museums: Cosmopolitanism and Commodification


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color photo of Katherine Sender
Katherine Sender, Professor of Communication Studies, U-M
Event Date: 
October 6, 2015
Event Time: 
2239 Lane Hall
Event Accessibility : 
Ramp and elevator access at the E. Washington Street entrance (by the loading dock). There are accessible restrooms on the south end of Lane Hall, on each floor of the building. A gender neutral restroom is available on the first floor.
Event Tags: 
color photo of Katherine Sender

How do sex museums stage same-sex erotic materials, and for what purposes? Drawing on fieldwork at twenty-two museums in Asia, Europe, and North America, Professor Sender considers the relationship among sexuality, consumer culture, and global flows of cultural and economic capital. Museums ranging from highly commercial tourist sites to highbrow civic institutions exhibit same sex materials to demonstrate their investment in a cosmopolitan community of sexual progressives. She questions the civil rights promise of cosmopolitanism in the context of museums’ commodification of sexuality and their disavowal of ongoing international inequities in sexual and economic social justice. 

Katherine Sender comes to Communication Studies at the University of Michigan from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and previously, the University of Pennsylvania. She is a professor of media specializing in gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ representation. Her research areas span television, audiences, cultural production, consumer culture, and globalization. Her current research project focuses on sex museums as sites to investigate transnational sexual mobilities.