Damon Young

Dissertation Fellow
2012-2013
Image of Damon Young.

Existing studies by film and cultural historians demonstrate how sex experienced a major transformation in the U.S. and West Europe in recent decades. Previously confined to the private sphere, sex found new forms of articulation in public visual culture in the 1960s and 70s, primarily in cinema. But while these accounts offer useful institutional, legislative, and cultural accounts of the new sexualization of the public sphere, there has been insufficient attention paid to the theoretical significance of this development. In his dissertation entitled In the Realm of the Sexes: The Political Theory of Sex on Screen, Damon Young (Film & Media) explores how sexual difference, sexual relationality, and the look itself emerge as properly political figures that also shape new cinematic languages. Focusing primarily on the U.S. and France—two self-appointed avatars of modern liberal democracy—he argues that the shift of the location of sex from private to public reveals a number of impasses or paradoxes constitutive of liberalism, and thus of Western political “modernity.”

Mr. Young is also the recipient of the Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching award.