Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice. Inform yourself about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

240135 UE Guided Reading (2020W)

Continuous assessment of course work

MA Gender Studies (Version 2013):
PM GIG Grundlagen interdisziplinärer Gender Studies
UE Guided Reading

MA Gender Studies (Version 2020)
PM 1 Zentrale Themen und Fragestellungen
UE Guided Reading


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday, 5 October, 9.00–12.00: online
Monday, 19 October, 9.00–12.00: Seminarraum SG1, Sensengasse 3
Monday, 16 November, 9.00–12.00: online
Monday, 30 November, 9.00–12.00: online

It's safe to assume that later seminars will have to be online as well. This will be announced as soon as possible.

Monday 05.10. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 19.10. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 16.11. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 30.11. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 14.12. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 11.01. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1
Monday 25.01. 09:00 - 12:00 Seminarraum SG1 Internationale Entwicklung, Sensengasse 3, Bauteil 1


Aims, contents and method of the course

There have been heated arguments around both political and individual aspects of BDSM (short for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, and Sadism & Masochism / Sadomasochism) practices and communities. For example, there have been arguments around whether practising BDSM should be seen as a mental illness or whether it contributes to mental health; whether it should be prohibited by law; and whether it is moral or immoral. Additionally, BDSM has been examined in terms of gender and race politics (e.g., asking whether BDSM ‘is’ sexist or anti-sexist; racist or anti-racist) as well as, more recently, from queer/trans and critical disability perspectives.
In this course, we critically engage with these interrogations from multiple perspectives, gaining a fuller understanding of the practices and politics of BDSM. We focus specifically on arguments about whether BDSM draws on and reproduces gendered and racialised power dynamics; as well as its embeddedness in the ‘circuits of power’ (Weiss 2011) of modern capitalism. Additionally, we ask whether BDSM can provide a space in which, for example, queer and trans people can try out and renegotiate gendered and bodily experiences; in which racialised trauma can be addressed; and in which disability can be engaged with and reframed.

The primary working language in this course is English. However, all participants are warmly invited to use and contribute their other languages as well.

My approach to learning spaces is based on emancipatory, queer and Black feminist perspectives (see e.g. the works of bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins and Paulo Freire). Consequently, the aim of such spaces is not rote learning and regurgitating facts that are simply assumed to be true. Instead, I want to focus on jointly shaping an interactive knowledge process that involves our experiential knowledge and positionings in the world as well as a critical approach to societal power relations and norms.

The COVID-19 pandemic means that in-person sessions may be difficult or impossible to conduct. Because of this, the current plan for the course is as follows (and it may need to be changed during the semester):

First and last session: webinars with all participants
For the rest of the sessions, participants will be divided into two groups. In each biweekly session, each group will only be present for 1.5 hours so that we can keep a safety distance from each other.

Additionally, there will be learning groups throughout the semester. These will consist of 4–5 participants each. The aim of the learning groups is to provide a space in which the texts can be discussed ahead of and in addition to the in-person sessions that I will take part in. (This can be done online or in person, depending on how the situation develops.) For each session, one member of the group prepares the respective texts in more depth (e.g. by doing some research on the authors and preparing questions for discussion). Additionally, each learning group posts a summary of the main points they discussed, open questions, etc. on moodle ahead of the respective session.

Finally, there will be peer-teaching groups of 3–4 participants that prepare asynchronous sessions on topics related to academic reading, such as strategies for reviewing literature, etc. Asynchronous means that they will not require everyone to be online at the same time. Instead, peer teaching groups devise methods to enable participants to engage with the respective topics in their own time. (I am happy to provide support in developing/choosing such methods.)

Taking part in the in-person sessions is strongly encouraged. However, I will ‘check’ neither attendance nor participation.

Assessment and permitted materials

1) Participation (20 points)
2) Preparation and postings on Moodle (up to 45 points)
3) Activities for reflection (up to 25 points)
4) Learning groups (up to 30 points)
5) Final project (up to 40 points)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grading system is designed in such a way that you can choose which activities you want to do based on your interests. Theoretically, you could get up to 160 points, but the grade A band starts at 100 points already.

100 points and more 1
85–99.9 points 2
70–84.9 points 3
55–69.9 points 4
under 55 points 5

Examination topics

See above.

Reading list

The readings for the course will be provided at the beginning of the course and will comprise a total of about 500 pages.

Below is a selection of literature that may be of interest, some of which will be included in the course:

* Ardill, Susan, and Sue O’Sullivan. 1986. “Upsetting An Applecart: Difference, Desire and Lesbian Sadomasochism.” Feminist Review 23: 31–57.
* Barker, Meg, and Darren Langdridge. 2005. “Special Issue: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism (S/M).” Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review 6 (3).
* Bauer, Robin. 2014. Queer BDSM Intimacies: Critical Consent and Pushing Boundaries.
*Chancer, Lynn S. 1992. Sadomasochism in Everyday Life: The Dynamics of Power and Powerlessness. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
* Cruz, Ariane. 2016. The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography. New York: New York University Press.
* Deckha, M. 2011. “Pain as Culture: A Postcolonial Feminist Approach to S/M and Women’s Agency.” Sexualities 14 (2): 129–50.
* Kuzmanovic, Dejan. 2018. “Queer Race Play: Kinky Sex and the Trauma of Racism.” In Disgust and Desire: The Paradox of the Monster, edited by Kristen Wright, 71–88. Leiden/Boston: Brill Rodopi.
* Langdridge, Darren, and Meg Barker, eds. 2007. Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
* Linden, Robin Ruth, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E.H. Russell, and Susan Leigh Star, eds. 1982. Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. East Palo Alto, CA: Frog in the Well.
* Reynolds, Dawn. 2007. “Disability and BDSM: Bob Flanagan and the Case for Sexual Rights.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 4 (1): 40–52.
* Tellier, Stephanie. 2017. “Advancing the Discourse: Disability and BDSM.” Sexuality and Disability 35 (4): 485–93.
* Sheff, Elisabeth, and Corie Hammers. 2011. “The Privilege of Perversities: Race, Class and Education among Polyamorists and Kinksters.” Psychology and Sexuality 2 (3): 198–223.
* Simula, Brandy L. 2012. “Does Bisexuality ‘Undo’ Gender? Gender, Sexuality, and Bisexual Behavior Among BDSM Participants.” Journal of Bisexuality 12 (4): 484–506.
* Sheppard, Emma. 2018. “Using Pain, Living With Pain.” Feminist Review 120 (1): 54–69.
* Sheppard, Emma. 2019. “Chronic Pain as Fluid, BDSM as Control.” Disability Studies Quarterly 39 (2): 1–16.
* Sloan, Lorca Jolene. 2015. “Ace of (BDSM) Clubs: Building Asexual Relationships through BDSM Practice.” Sexualities 18 (56): 548–63.
* Weiss, Margot. 2011. Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 02.11.2020 16:49