Jennifer Doyle

Jennifer Doyle

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CalArts Campus


Paul Brach Lecture Series

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. She is a queer theorist, art critic and sports writer.

Currently, Jennifer Doyle is working on a collection of essays on art and sport. She is also writing about paranoia, harassment and the workplace. In 2015, she curated Nao Bustamante: Soldadera, for the Vincent Price Art Museum. She is also the curator of “The Tip of Her Tongue,” a feminist performance art series presented by The Broad Museum, in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Board of Directors at Human Resources, Los Angeles, a space dedicated to performance-based and interdisciplinary experimental art. 

Professor Doyle’s major publications include:

Campus Sex/Campus Security (2015), which explores the relationship between Title IX administration, harassment, and campus policing. This book features in Semiotext(e)’s series, Interventions.

Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2013) explores the idea of difficulty in art, ideologies of emotion, and how emotion circulates in and around art in flows that are directed by histories both personal and political. Drawing from the way the term “difficulty” circulates in poetics and music, Hold It Against Me tackles contemporary artworks, some of which have been intensely controversial. Refusing the discourse of controversy that has framed the reception of artists like Ron Athey and David Wojnarowicz, Doyle re-centers understanding of their work on its emotional complexity, and places it in relation to works by artists like Adrian Howells, Franko B., Carrie Mae Weems, James Luna, and Nao Bustamante.

Sex Objects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Foundation award for writing in art and culture, and received an honorable mention for the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize (awarded by the queer caucus for the MLA). This work steps back from narratives of repression and prohibition to consider more carefully how and where sex “happens” in art – as well as how discourse on sexuality is deployed in criticism. In chapters on desire and boredom in Moby Dick, women in Warhol’s films, Thomas Eakins’s gender panic, intimacy and Tracey Emin, and Vaginal Davis’s performances as Vanessa Beecroft, Sex Objects offers an alternative to the diagnostic habits of thought that shape writing about art and sexuality in which the art object appears as a concrete symptom of the artist’s sexual identity.

From 2007-2013, Doyle wrote From A Left Wing, a blog about the cultural politics of soccer. In 2013 she started a new blog, The Sport Spectacle. Her writing on sports has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Deadspin, as well as in Social Text, Cabinet, and World Literature Today.