Consent: Not as simple as a cup of tea

12-1 pm

PSTC Seminar Room 205

Jennifer S. Hirsch, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Teaching young people about consent has been a central element of sexual assault prevention. Students may walk out of these educational sessions knowing how to define affirmative consent, but their actual practices are shaped by complex social forces. In this presentation, drawing on ethnographic data from Columbia's Sexual Health Initiatives to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) study, Hirsch will discuss modifiable cultural and social dimensions of sexual consent practices and the implications of these insights for new approaches to promoting consensual sex and preventing sexual assault.

Jennifer S. Hirsch, a medical anthropologist and Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, co-directs SHIFT, a research project on sexual assault and sexual health among Columbia undergraduates. With Shamus Khan, she is coauthor of the forthcoming Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus, which draws on SHIFT's ethnographic research to examine sexual assault and consensual sex among undergraduates in relation to the broader context of campus life.  A 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2015 Public Voices Fellow, and a 2018-19 Visiting Research Scholar with Princeton's Center for Health and Well-Being, Hirsch co-directs the Columbia Population Research Center. 

Her published work includes A Courtship After Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families, the award-winning coauthored book The Secret: Love, Marriage and HIV, two edited volumes on the anthropology of love, more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, and many op-eds in venues such as Time and The Hill.

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