Presenting Tender Rhythms at the 2018 NWSA Conference

I recently obtained my Ph.D in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from Emory’s WGSS Department.

My graduate research Tender Rhythms. Re-Thinking Sexuality, Subjectivity, and Sociality Through the Hysteric’s Tender Desire, focuses on the bias against non-genital and non-orgasm oriented sexual pleasure in modern sexuality (studies). I argue how since sexology’s onset with Freud, the diagnosis of hysteria has been used to pathologize non-genital sexual pleasure as unhealthy, feminine, uncivilized, perverse, and infantile. I trace how this bias is still present in contemporary psychoanalytic, queer, and philosophical accounts of adult sexuality. Additionally, my research and art attempt to reclaim this non-genital sexual pleasure, by focusing on the forgotten concept these ‘hysterics’ used to name their peculiar desire: Zärtlichkeit or Tenderness. Through a close analysis of Freudian ‘hysteric’ case studies, in tandem with auto-biographic anecdotes, the media response to the Aziz Ansari #MeToo-case, the BDSM-technique of aftercare and the subversive work of visual and sonic artist Björk, my work unearths tenderness’ radical potential for rethinking sexuality as well as subjectivity and sociality as post-phallic, post-genital and post-orgasmic. My writings combine feminist, queer, psychoanalytic, post-colonial, affect, and performance theory lenses.

As a singer-songwriter and sound artist, I add a visual and sonic dimension to my research. With the aim to explore, induce, and contemplate tender experiences, I use brainwaves, voice, ukulele, city noises, and visuals to create interactive sound-installations, soundscapes, and songs. For example, my dissertation ends with a BCI-installation, which uses recent neuroscientific research and technology to translate tenderness into visuals and sound. For more info, see my latest blog post.

Besides my research, this inter-modal and inter-disciplinary combination of theory and art equally characterizes my teaching. My classes in critical theory — including feminist theory, gender and sexuality studies, performance theory, trans studies, disability studies, Black studies, critical psychoanalytic theory, queer theory and queer of colour critique — emphasize the subversive potential of art as a way to critique problematic ideologies. My transformative pedagogic style encourages students to integrate art and writing to explore and deconstruct the hegemonic ways in which sex, gender, race and ability are constructed.

Additionally, I hold a Bachelors, Masters and M.Phil. degree in Philosophy from the KU Leuven. In 2013, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study Intellectual History at the Johns Hopkins Humanities Centre. Since 2018, I have been a Laney Graduate School Fellow pursuing my Ph.D. in WGSS and this year I completed my dissertation on a Mellon Public Scholarship Teaching Fellowship. My research and art received both national and international prizes and awards. For more information download my CV, which you can find under the ‘about me’ section. Or feel free to email me on stephaniekoziej@emory.edu.