Think & Drink: Sex and the Citizen
Wednesday, February 10 2016
By most accounts, “citizenship” is not particularly sexy. And yet sex—and the identities, practices, communities, and cultures attached to it—is very much on the state’s mind when it considers us as citizens (and as non-citizens). From reproductive rights to spousal green cards, income tax credits for married couples and school voucher programs, what counts as pornography and where it can be sold—these are among the wide-ranging questions and issues through which government routinely engages in the regulation of sexuality and gender. At the same time, sexuality and gender have paved the way for many of the most important and dramatic interventions activists, writers, artists, educators, and other thought leaders have made in recent years, transforming broader understandings of equality, civil rights, and what it means to belong to the American civic culture. Same-sex marriage, the trans rights movement, immigration reform: these are among the most notable instances where sexuality and citizenship collide in our present political landscape. “Sex and the Citizen” brings together a diverse panel of experts to lead a discussion encompassing the significant and surprising ways in which sexual politics determine what it means to be a citizen today. The moderator for Think & Drink 2016 is Elise Pepple and the panelists for the first of the four T&D conversations are: Stephen Engel Associate Professor and Chair of Politics, Bates College, Lewiston Wendy Chapkis Professor of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine Derek Jackson Visual artist and front man of the Portland, Maine based art-punk band Hi Tiger. A bit more about Think and Drink: We’re psyched to get going with Think & Drink in 2016! It may not get the amount of press that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War did, but this year is also the 150th anniversary–of the 14th Amendment, one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that helped to reshape the United States’ political terrain. The 14th Amendment, in case you don’t remember (we sure had to do some reading up ourselves), focuses on citizenship, due process, and equal protection. And so in 2016, we will take the idea of “citizens” and “citizenship” and dive deeply using activism, art, gender, sex, and more as our lenses. We have a new MC for this year’s series: Elise Pepple, who is into good conversations. To this end, she has worked for StoryCorps, been a radio host, and frequently talks to strangers. Elise moved to Portland in 2012 to attend the Salt Institute. She teaches storytelling at The Maine College of Art. In her spare time she hosts a live storytelling series called Hear Tell, and is working on a public art project called Portland Brick, a project building public memory. The 2016 Think & Drink series will be on Wednesdays in February, March, April, and May at SPACE Gallery.