A series of interviews that seek to unpack and explore the concept of 'heteropessimism' as well as its travels throughout scholarship and popular culture, with the ultimate goal to find a way forward, towards a 'hetero-optimism'. This is a podcast for straight and queer folks alike interested in thinking holistically about gender, relationships and sexuality today.
Volume 1 Coda: Misogyny and the Anesthetic Affect
59:58This in-depth discussion between Samantha Pinson Wrisley and Jennifer Hamilton provides an unexpected but perfect coda to volume one. Wrisley’s research on misogyny focuses on the "feeling" of hating women, and on articulating how those feelings shape relationships and social worlds. In Wrisley’s work, the consequences of widespread heteropessimism are examined for their connections to misogyny, which are less banal and more pernicious. They look at how this same (or adjacent) feeling tangles with misogyny and forms part of the rise of transphobia, incels and the manosphere.
Episode Five: Domestic Ecologies and Family Abolition
40:43In our final episode of Volume One, Jennifer Hamilton chats to author and scholar, Sophie Lewis, about her new book, ‘Abolish the Family!: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation' and how this provocative idea can help us move beyond the emotional and political trap that is laid for people by heteropessimism.
Episode Four: Desire and Moving Beyond Binaries
35:53Our team member, Dr Christina Kenny, a sociologist at UNE talks to strong man coach, sex worker and professional dominant, Sir James, to unpack some of the ways that ‘desire’ and ‘taboo’ can undo and perhaps even challenge some of the constrictive, heteronormative expectations which can produce heteropessimism and, in turn, heteropessimists.
Episode Three: Masculinities
49:20Dr Matt Allen, a historian at UNE, and to date, the only male-identifying participant on The Heteropessimists project, is interested in exploring male forms of heteropessimism as well as the role of masculinities in explaining heteropessimism. Being a historian, his focus here is on the past. Particularly a strain of what he contends might anachronistically be called heteropessimism in Russel Ward’s famous Australian legend which centres the mate-ship of egalitarian bushmen. In this far-reaching discussion, Matt explores these ideas with Frank Bongiorno, Professor of History at the Australian National University, and the author of the first ever history of sex in Australia, the award-winning, ‘Sex Lives of Australians’.
Episode Two: Pessimism
28:21In this episode, we ask the question: 'Just how pessimistic should we be?'Jane Ward is a professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of California Riverside, where she teaches courses in feminist, queer, and heterosexuality studies. She has written on a wide range of gender and sexuality topics, but it was her 2020 book The Tragedy of Heterosexuality that caught the attention of Dr Felicity Joseph - the existentialist-minded philosopher on our team. In this in-depth interview, Felicity reaches out to Jane Ward for some answers and suggestions to the dilemmas of mainstream heteronormative culture, whilst finding out more about the nature of this ‘tragic’ heterosexuality and what we can do about it…
Episode One: So what exactly is heteropessimism?
35:05For our very first episode, you’re going to hear an interview between our team member, Jennifer Hamilton and Asa Seresin - the author of the article that catalysed this project. They’ll discuss the definition of the concept, how it complicates existing thinking about gender and sexuality, how widely it has travelled and what the implications are for research and social justice activism of all kinds.