Sexuality and Freedom Writing Essay

Take home essay exam:

For the purposes of this essay, I’m asking you to put your own voice into conversation with the texts, to engage in a philosophical exchange with our authors about your own view. This is more than just expressing an opinion, I’m asking you to become a philosopher arguing for a position or approach or point of view. You need to argue for your view in relation to the views of the authors you are citing (whether you agree with them or disagree, you are in conversation with them throughout the essay). This requires serious textual engagement, and short, efficient citations. Use simple, author-page parenthetical citations (Ahmed 97).

Write a 1300 word essay (strict limit) on ONE of the following questions. Please note at the top of your essay which question you have chosen. In each case, engage the appropriate texts from Units 2&3. You must engage at least 2 texts in some depth to complete the assignment.

FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR ESSAY: In the first paragraph of your essay:

  • introduce the question you have chosen
  • tell us which authors you will use and give a brief (a sentence or two) summary of each author’s response to the question (to preview your more in depth discussion in the paper)
  • end the paragraph with a sentence which starts: “I will defend the view that…” and ends with a summary of why you will defend that view.
  • Caveat: If this seems totally constraining, if you are a strong writer and know that you are, just make sure your first paragraph does the same work as the paragraph I’ve recommended and write it the way you want to write it.


Question #1

How is one’s personhood at stake in a sexual life, and particularly in instances of sexual use and sexual violence? Give a compelling example and work with that example in your essay (the example can be from the texts we’ve read, a personal experience, a news story, etc.). (Possible texts for this essay: Wojtyla, Katz, Bordo, Phillips.)

Question #2

What are the conditions under which a gay self comes to be that self? How do these conditions structure the existence and/or lifeworlds of such selves? (Possible texts: Eribon, Ahmed, Diamond).

Question #3

What is the relationship between sexuality and freedom (and/or unfreedom)? (Think about innateness, choice, interpellation.) (Possible texts: Eribon, Diamond, Burke, Ahmed).

Question #4

What does it mean to have a sexual “orientation”?

(Possible texts: Diamond, Burke, Ahmed).

Grading will be based on a holistic assessment of these six factors:

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Writing
  • Textual Engagement
  • Philosophical Depth
  • Philosophical Pizazz (The ‘Wow!” factor).