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Sex and Surveillance

Scopophilia is the derivation of pleasure from looking. What pleasures does the surveillance state gain from looking at us? From feeling and documenting us? How do privacy activists fight back against such surveillance, and what might be wrong with privacy rights discourse? Which groups are always already surveilled? In this class, students will play with notions of surveillance—including sousveillance, lateral surveillance, and counter surveillance—as engaged by queer and feminist studies, the cultural anthropology of expertise, and social studies of science and technology. We will draw on case studies ranging from police technologies, facial recognition software, PornHub’s data collection projects, TSA airport body scanners, Facebook ads, science fiction like Black Mirror, and more to understand how bodies, races, genders, and sexualities are made known and contested by activists, artists, corporations, and governments. Students will also collect data for a creative personal surveillance project culminating at the end of the quarter.