Consent Lab Syllabus

Course Summary

Consent – Spring 2023

Consent is how we know we are doing a thing together. Consent means setting some parameters for that thing. Consent is about risk, trust, and play. Any social compact begins with consent. The more parties involved, the more elusive consent becomes. Taking such insights to heart, this class will bring an experiential and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of consent with scholars and art practitioners working in literature, drama, interactive media arts, and musicology.

An important component of the course is to experiment with the idea of a research lab rooted in arts practice. Students will engage in movement, listening, improvisation and analytical practices to root out and critically examine all the ways in which consent is hiding in plain sight in everyday social-emotional life. They will also encounter consent as a vexed theme in philosophy, literature, and the performing arts from the 17th century to the present to better understand the concept’s origins and myriad convolutions over time.

Moving beyond legalistic understandings of consent, this course equips students with practice-based tools to investigate emotionally difficult topics. Conceived with an experimental design, this course participates in a 2022-23 NYU Bennett-Polonsky Humanities Lab.