There’s a porn module starting at Exeter, and here’s what’s on it

‘Porn literacy matters!’


Exeter has become the first university in the UK to offer a module on the study of porn.

Dr João Florêncio will be teaching 'Pornography: Bodies, Sex, and Representation' as part of the Art History and Visual Culture course, from September 2020.

He told The Tab Exeter that he felt there was a need for the course because "talking about porn, just like talking about sex, seems to be rare, particularly in educational contexts.

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"Pornography is a genre that has always accompanied and sometimes driven developments in visual media and technologies."

João has said that while some students may find the images hard to watch, he refuses to censor any materials.

The module will cover all aspects of the porn industry, particularly the movement towards more "ethical porn".

What is ethical porn I hear you ask? Well João says: "We have to see the potential impact of porn in people’s lives, we must not see porn as solely responsible for people’s sexual behaviours in the same way that we wouldn’t blame violent video games for mass shootings.

"It’s fundamental that people working in porn have access to the same rights and protections as workers in other industries.

"So if we want ethical porn, we must acknowledge the role pornography plays in contemporary culture, we must recognise it as an industry and a workplace, and only then we will be able to ensure porn professionals are treated like everybody else outside the porn industry."

According to the module's ELE page, it aims to introduce students to "the main theories and debates that have surrounded and framed the production, dissemination and consumption of pornographic images", engaging with "materials ranging from literature to early visual erotica", "historically-censored films" to the so-called “Golden Age of Porn”, from "gay porn to feminist and queer 'post-porn'” and "from online amateur pornography to artists who blur the boundaries between art and pornography."

It will attempt to "illuminate our understanding of the ways in which our societies have conceived and represented human bodies, their sexual desires and sexual pleasures."

Dr Florêncio expressed his excitement towards the module on Twitter, saying he was "chuffed to bits" that it has been accredited "and that Exeter will be the first UK University" to teach such a module.

He added "Porn literacy matters!"

If you will have graduated by September 2020, don't stress: João's research project includes a documentary film premiering at 'Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest' in London.

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