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Scholar who runs ‘sexy performance lab’ to give honorary Princeton lecture
Professor Kim Tallbear

Professor says sex too intertwined with ‘Colonial’ views about ‘nature’

Upcoming Princeton University lecturer Kim Tallbear lists running a “sexy performance laboratory” among her credentials.

Tallbear (pictured), a professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, is scheduled to give the talk “Why is sex a ‘thing’? Making relations against a Colonial world” on April 1 for Princeton’s annual Meredith Miller Memorial Lecture.

Her lecture will address “theories of what is natural” within “settler-colonial states” like Canada and the United States, and “how the very notion of ‘sexuality’ (like ‘nature’) makes networks of relations into controllable objects,” according to the online event page.

Tallbear’s talk will be both “sex positive” and an attempt to “de-center sex” as a “manifestation” of oppressive notions about “nature,” according to the event description.

“She draws on Critical Indigenous and sexuality studies frameworks to offer alternatives to making intimate relations into ‘things’ to be managed and controlled,” the description states.

Tallbear runs the Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society international research and teaching hub at the University of Alberta. She also co-founded a “sexy performance laboratory” called Tipi Confessions, according to her personal website.

The lab conducts “creative experimentation and action research” about “decolonial and critical sexualities,” her website states.

It also hosts shows that solicit stories and performances from the public about sexuality, including “spoken word readings,” ”burlesque, kink-themed performances,” music, comedy, and short theatrical sketches.

One of the lab’s upcoming shows, “Sexy Science Confessions,” was created to “prove just how HOT science can be and how Indigenous sex and sexualities can’t be bound by the categories of science,” according to the performance solicitation.

Tallbear’s biography describes her as an expert in “biological colonialism” and “the colonization of Indigenous sexuality.”

In a 2019 journal article co-authored with other Indigenous studies scholars, she questioned whether it is ethical for scientists to listen for alien civilizations.

“Seen this way, isn’t listening potentially without permission just another form of surveillance? To listen intently but indiscriminately seemed to our working group like a type of eavesdropping,” they wrote.

MORE: Indigenous scholars: Listening for alien civilizations is ‘eavesdropping’

IMAGE: Princeton University Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.