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Professor outlines syllabus for ‘porn studies’ course

Patrick Keilty, an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information and Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, took to Twitter recently to detail the syllabus of a “porn studies” course he plans to offer to undergraduate students.

“Pretty proud of my undergraduate Porn Studies syllabus. I wish I could assign more! But there’s only so much real estate,” Keilty tweeted Dec. 7 before sharing a lengthy thread containing a week-by-week breakdown of planned course material.

Unit titles listed on the syllabus include “Old Timey Smut: Classical and Literary Porn,” “The Ultimate Porn Stash,” “Gross! Regulating Porn” and “Colonial Porn.”

The professor also notes there will be in-class viewing of hardcore pornography, including films such as “Deep Throat” and “Boys in the Sand.”

Keilty tweeted that he also plans to show students “Linda/Les and Annie,” a documentary about a pornographic actress engaging in intercourse with a female-to-male transsexual, which includes footage of the act taking place.

Two sex workers are also expected to be invited as online guest speakers over the course of the semester, both of whom are expected to be paid by the university, according to Keilty.

“I am fortunate enough to work at the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, which PAYS guest speakers. So we will have two guest speakers who actively work in the sex industries visit our class by Zoom,” the last tweet in the thread stated.

The identities of the speakers are not disclosed.

The University of Toronto’s website describes the course, titled “Sexual Representations: Critical Approaches in Porn Studies” as “a critical study of the historical, aesthetic, and cultural formation of the concept of pornography,” which “explores the relationship between sexual representation and sex work; works through debates about artistic merit and censorship and how they relate to larger issues of power, capitalism, and technology; and theorizes the relationship between sex and commerce.”

The description also states that the course “will include work from feminist, queer, people of colour, and trans theorists in the cutting-edge field of porn studies.”

Keilty has yet to respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment.

Keilty has spent much of his career writing on pornography-related topics – his biography on the university’s website states his primary research interest to be the “politics of digital infrastructures in the online pornography industry,” and he has written numerous academic articles on the topic, including “Desire by design: pornography as technology industry” and “Embodiment and desire in browsing online pornography.”

Keilty is not the first in academia to offer a course on pornography studies. Similar courses have already been offered at universities, including University of California, Santa Barbara and Pasadena City College.

The course offered by Pasadena City College was titled “Navigating Pornography,” which garnered media attention in 2013 after Professor Hugo Schwyzer invited a prominent adult film actor to speak on campus. Later that year, Schwyzer discontinued the course amid significant public backlash.

The course offered by Professor Constance Penley at UC Santa Barbara – titled “Topics in Film and Popular Culture: Pornography” – was also briefly discontinued in the fall of 2015, but appears to have since been reinstated with Penley having taught the course as recently as the spring of 2021.

MORE: The ups and downs of UCSB’s 22-year-old porn class

IMAGE: Twitter screenshot

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Kyle Schmidbauer is a student at Montclair State University studying political science and communications. He is a columnist for Lone Conservative, and has written for the Daily Caller and the Liberty Loft.