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Princeton University’s Latest Course Offering: “Black + Queer in Leather: Black Leather/BDSM Material Culture”

A long time ago, young people looking to make a name for themselves could have attended leather-making courses. Nowadays, the product is used in education as a more steamy type of instruction.

Many of you may remember selecting easy-going electives during your college days. The lore of courses such as “Underwater Basketweaving” still persists. However, times have changed, and baskets and their creations are definitely Amish. In 2022, universities provide modern fare.

For instance, in the spring of next year, Princeton University (a privately owned Ivy League research school) will provide instruction on something truly fun. The official website promotes “VIS 207/AAS206/GSS 216,” which translates into “Black + Queer in Leather: Black Leather/BDSM Material Culture.”

Description: “Black Queer BDSM material culture resists contextualization in relationship to biographical narratives because of the underground elements of the community. This course will explore the material culture of this community from three perspectives: Architecture + Location, Visual Artists and Exhibitions, and Black Queer BDSM communities with a significant research focus on finding and presenting new materials. We will consider the fragility of archival engagement with these communities by surveying existing BDSM archives in research libraries, community groups, and individuals and their personal ephemera.”

This course is taught by Tiona Nekkia McClodden, whose website describes her as a “Princeton Arts Fellow and award-winning visual artist, filmmaker, and curator.”

College has come far, and so has curating. Schools are busy tearing down what came before. But when it comes to libertine views regarding sexuality, the pace is accelerating: “Arizona Department of Education Invites 10-Year-Olds to Talk With Strangers Online About Their Sexual Identities,” “Vermont Makes History, Starts Handing Out Condoms to 12-Year-Olds,” “K-12 Teachers Wear QR Codes Promoting Sex Work and Sex Secrets,” “Dirty Work: Universities Try to Sell Students on the ‘Positives’ of Sex,” “Report: Utah College Course Invites Students to ‘Watch Pornographic Films Together’,” “University Professor Says Sex Work Is the ‘Best Thing’ for Young Adults, Abolish Capitalism and Prison.”

A more traditional take doesn’t always work out: “Professor Claims There Are Two Sexes, All but One of Her Graduate Students Walk Out.”

The enticing Princeton training program on BDSM includes a thrilling reading list. A few samples:

Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism

The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography

The Black Body In Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography

Fetishism as Cultural Discourse

In The Life: A Black Gay Anthology

A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography

A few decades ago, the higher education system was seen as superiorly advanced. Also, Ivy League schools avoided distasteful publicity related to controversial subjects. However, these days, bold is beautiful, and institutions do not mind being in the news for letting their pants slip.

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