The Object of Desire: Amber Musser Lunch Talk at CSGS

March 1, Monday
12:30 to 1:45 PM
Amber Musser, Gender Politics, Draper Program, NYU
Imagine that you were in love with the Golden Gate Bridge? What would this mean to you? What kind of relationship would develop? This talk is an exploration of objectum sexuals–people who form meaningful and erotic relationships with objects. By examining this phenomenon, we can gain insight into how concepts of love, intimacy, agency, and, ultimately, subjectivity are shifting in the twenty-first century.
Amber Musser is an assistant professor/Faculty Fellow in Gender Politics in NYU’s John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program. Dr. Musser received an A.B. in Biology and History of Science from Harvard (2002), a M.St. in Women’s Studies from Oxford (2003), and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard (2009).
Dr. Musser’s work focuses on psychoanalysis, queer affect, and theories of subjectivity. Her dissertation, “On the Subject of Masochism,” is a history of the various readings and re-readings that produced masochism’s discursive shift from psychiatry to critical and queer theory. Portions of her dissertation have been published: “Masochism, a Queer Subjectivity” in Rhizomes and “Reading, Writing ,and the Whip” forthcoming in Literature and Medicine. All of Dr. Musser’s work is a dialogue between history and philosophy of science, critical theory, queer and feminist theory, and critical history. In addition to bringing science and gender and sexuality studies together in conversation, she believes that treating these areas together reveals a new space in which to situate and destabilize our prevailing notions of subjectivity and agency. This perspective allows her to focus on understanding race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and class as critical dimensions of personal experience, which also extends to the realm of science. In keeping with this theme, she has published an article, “From Our Body to Yourselves,” which discusses the shift in concepts of Woman and community within the Women’s Health Movement in the 1970s. She has also been working on an article, “The Obscure Object of Desire,” that interrogates negotiations of intimacy and sexuality in relationships with inanimate objects. In addition to turning her dissertation into a book, Dr. Musser is currently researching queer attachments to objects and embodiments of multiple subjectivities. While at Harvard, Dr. Musser received the Derek Bok Award for Teaching Excellence.
41-51 East 11th Street, Room 709
between University Place and Broadway
(wheelchair access at 85-87 University Place, between 11th and 12th Streets)
Part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series — bring your own lunch and we’ll provide beverages and dessert!
This event is free and open to the public.  If you need sign language interpretation services or other accommodations, please let us know as soon as possible.
For more information, please call 212-992-9540 or email