Creating Cultures of Sexual Respect on Campus

Campus sexual assault has emerged into the national discourse in an unprecedented way. This Seminar provides an opportunity for students to engage in productive discourse about the issues, debates and tensions within the movement to protect students from sexual assault.  We will grapple with the various cultural, societal, legal, moral and political factors that contribute to this problem with a focus on identifying the levers most likely to produce social change. We begin with an examination of the current debate on college campuses concerning the rights and responsibilities of students toward each other, and the schools’ corresponding responsibility to create a safe and equal learning environment for all.  Many of the issues are playing out here on our own campus at Harvard, and we will deconstruct the constellation of factors that contribute to the current campus climate. For example, how might popular culture, music, pornography and advertising inform questions of consent between students? How does the role of alcohol and drug use either complicate or simplify our analysis of these cases? What role might sports culture and male-only social spaces play in creating an unequal educational environment? Is it the same for all-female spaces? How might dominant culture impact racial, sexual and gender minorities? How can we harness the power of peer-to-peer influence to generate a refreshed discourse on sexual respect? Drawing from law, anthropology, sociology, philosophy and political science, we will explore innovative approaches informed by student experience in creating cultures of sexual respect.

Additional Information

Faculty: Diane Rosenfeld
Time: Tu, 4:00 - 6:00pm
Course website