Love. Sexuality. Sex. Gender. Historically, Western culture has demarcated these ideas to fit within specific frameworks—pure love resists sexual desire; proper sexuality fits only within a firm heterosexual binary; and sex, if indulged in, should abide by very rigid institutionalized rules. But our understanding of love, sex, and sexuality is transforming right before our eyes. As our perceptions of sexuality and the psychology of sexual desire shifts, so too do our perceptions of what constitutes loving. Joe Boone has explored how a literature of love shifted with the changing perceptions of sexuality wrought by men like Freud and Foucault. Boone will challenge us to discern the links and lines between loving, sexuality, and sex, as we ask how we can define ourselves as lovers in all senses of the word now and into the future.
Joe Boone, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, researches the novel as genre, gender and queer studies, narrative theory, and modernism. He is the author of four books, most recently The Homoerotics of Orientalism from Columbia University Press. His articles have appeared in publications such as PMLA, Novel, Contemporary Literature, Modern Fiction Studies and South Atlantic Quarterly. He served as Chair of the USC English Department from 2001-2005. A true polymath, in addition to his academic work, Professor Boone has also written the libretto to several musical re-imaginings of literature. Most notably, he wrote the libretto for a musical adaptation of Herman Melville’s Con-Man, which was presented here at USC by Visions and Voices, featuring the talents of USC Thornton School of Music students.