Hardcore Curriculum, Ctd

Next spring, Routledge will publish Porn Studies, the first academic, peer-reviewed journal about pornography. A member of the editorial board explains why the field is worth studying:

[Editor Clarissa] Smith emphasizes three reasons in particular: pleasure, censorship, and controversy. First, porn is an important part of many people’s intimate lives, including their sexual relationships and identities, as well as their desires and fantasies. Second, pornography is often the focus for thinking about issues like censorship, regulation, freedom of speech, and ethical issues around sex and the media. And thirdly, pornography continues to be a controversial topic in the media and in other public forms of commentary, but, according to Smith, the way it is discussed often fails to engage with the evidence we have about porn.

But perhaps the biggest reason why pornography warrants critical engagement by scholars is that it’s a multi-billion dollar global industry that creates products that circulate widely and are consumed by many, yet we know surprisingly little about the conditions under which pornography is made and consumed, and how it affects people’s intimate lives and sexual identities.

On a related note, Camille Paglia rails against recent scholarly studies of kink and S&M, calling for a more rigorous approach to the topic. Previous Dish on porn in academia here.