Towards Hetero-optimism

A drawing of a man and a woman each naked with a plant growing out of their head
(Wikipedia Commons: unknown source)

Felicity Joseph, Christina Kenny and Jennifer Hamilton, University of New England

This research project is a six-episode podcast series exploring the cultural logic of Asa Seresin’s concept "heteropessimism". We are carefully and critically exploring how to build alternative visions for sexualities that do not reinscribe the hierarchical binary opposition of heterosexual versus LGBTQAI+. According to Seresin, the concept of heteropessimism names both a dominant cultural attitude and critical cul-de-sac. The podcast and associated writing will go beyond this impasse and develop new theorisations of heterosexualities for a more equitable future. The six episodes cover topic such as straight culture and the family, masculinity, the economy, desire and sex and future possibilities. The awardees are trained in gender and sexuality studies, but work in different disciplines - Philosophy, Sociology and Literature - and are collaborating with historian Matt Allen and a professional broadcaster Daz Chandler to deliver a rigorous and engaging public-facing output to examine the question: in a heteropessimistic culture, is a critical hetero-optimism possible? What will it take to create one in solidarity and allyship with extant struggles for sexual liberation? The six episodes will have interviews with experts alongside critical reflections and will be accompanied by blog posts and op-eds to generate local discussion about the idea.

Dr Felicity Joseph teaches in Philosophy, Dr Christina Kenny is a lecturer in Sociology and Dr Jennifer Hamilton is a lecturer in Literary Studies at the University of New England. They are 2021 recipients of the Freilich Project ECR Small Grant


Updated:  6 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Freilich Project/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications