Prof. Whitney Strub


Prof. Whitney Strub

Pornography, Politics, and Power in the Postwar United States

 

Pornography played a central role in defining sexual citizenship in the postwar U.S., and the debates around it are often narrated in terms of repression and freedom of expression, with the two iconic censorial quests of the modern conservative movement and the feminist antipornography movement pitted against the ostensible liberation of the sexual revolution. Yet power rarely reduces to such simple dynamics, and indeed, I argue here for a more nuanced reading of the porn debates: first, by showing how the Right used its antiporn politics to articulate a positive vision of sexual citizenship, one very much in line with that of postwar liberalism; next, by looking at representations of urban space in 1970s American pornography to reveal the complicity of heterosexual porn with conservative media narratives of an „urban crisis,” even as gay male porn challenged heteronormativity by making claims to public space.