Thursday, September 3, 2009

Introducing Amber Musser: Draper's New Faculty Fellow in Gender Politics

This semester, Draper is delighted to welcome two new faculty fellow members to our program. Amber Musser joins us as the faculty fellow in Gender Politics and will be teaching two courses for us this year: 'Introduction to Gender Politics I: Melancholy, Politics, and Identity' and 'Topics in Gender Politics: Objects of Affection.' Please see below for her introduction.

Amber Musser joins the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program as an Assistant Professor/ Faculty Fellow in gender politics. 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).

My work focuses on psychoanalysis, queer affect, and theories of subjectivity. My 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 my dissertation have been published: “Masochism, a Queer Subjectivity” in Rhizomes and "Reading, Writing ,and the Whip" forthcoming in Literature and Medicine. All of my 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, I believe 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 me 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, I have 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. I have 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 my dissertation into a book, I am currently researching queer attachments to objects and embodiments of multiple subjectivities.