Dr. Alyson K. Spurgas (they/she) interrogates contemporary experimental psychology and sex therapy protocols, exposing the cis-heteronormativity, ableism, bourgeois nature, and whiteness of these discourses. Spurgas looks specifically at mindfulness and other behavioristic regimes, as these are targeted primarily to women in the name of “self-help”–but which, paradoxically, also ignore the endemic experience of feminized trauma.

Dr. Patrick Sweeney (he/him) investigates the social psychological production of sexual orientation by examining scientific discourse and method in experiments of “face-based gaydar,” unveiling the cis-heteronormativity and whiteness of how homosexuality is constructed in scientific and popular discourse. Sweeney explores the history of the psychological measurement of race and gender to show how contemporary methods of delineating sexuality reproduce racist and sexist assumptions about sexual orientation.

Together, these researchers put pressure on psycho-sexological constructions of race, gender, and sexuality, discussing the ways binary gender is upheld in the disciplines of psychology, sexology, and sex therapy in the name of beneficence and the promotion of health.  They argue that even as quanto-predictive approaches attempt to calcify sex, gender, and sexuality into a reductionistic essence, psycho-metric and optimization technologies can never fully harness the rich, riotous nature of human desire and pleasure.  In this dialogue, Dr. Spurgas and Dr. Sweeney consider vibrant new ways forward.

This talk is open to the public.  Masks required.


Contact: Dr. Kate Sheese, Research Associate 
E-Mail: kate.sheese@sfu-berlin.de

Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität     
Department Psychologie                                                
Columbiadamm 10, Turm 9
D – 12101 Berlin