Amia Srinivasan

Amia Srinivasan is the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford and a contributing editor at the LRB. Her first book, The Right to Sex: Feminism in the 21st Century, was published in 2021. The title essay was first published in the LRB as ‘Does anyone have the right to sex?’ She’s also written for the paper on subjects including free speech on campus, pronouns, octopuses, bestiality and sharks.

If We Say Yes: Campus Speech

Amia Srinivasan, 23 May 2024

An open letter​ is an unloved thing. Written by committee and in haste, it is a monument to compromise: a minimal statement to which all signatories can agree, or – worse – a maximal statement that no signatory fully believes. Some academics have a general policy against signing them. I discovered that was true of some of my Oxford colleagues last year, when I drafted and...

Amia Srinivasan writes: I did not appreciate the full complexity of the David Miller case when I cited it as an example of an academic being fired for expressing controversial views. According to Bristol, Miller was sacked because he ‘did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff’. In 2019, the president of Bristol’s JSoc – the university’s Jewish student society – launched...

Cancelled: Can I speak freely?

Amia Srinivasan, 29 June 2023

You can seek to eradicate such viewpoints from universities. You can also believe that universities should become no-holds-barred venues for free and open debate. But it takes a certain mental flexibility to think that the one can be a way of achieving the other.

Short Cuts: Andrea Dworkin’s Conviction

Amia Srinivasan, 6 October 2022

In​ 1987, when Andrea Dworkin appeared on the Phil Donahue Show to promote the publication of her book Intercourse, a woman in the audience asked her, with a mixture of incredulity, concern and contempt: ‘What tragic thing happened in your life that made you feel this way?’ The audience hooted with laughter. Dworkin laughed for a moment too, in exasperation, and then turned...

What does Fluffy think? Pets with Benefits

Amia Srinivasan, 7 October 2021

The idea that it is impossible to know what non-human animals are feeling or thinking can serve as cover for their exploitation, domination and extermination. Do we really know nothing of how animals, even animals as physiologically different from us as lizards or bats, feel about the burning of their forests, the melting of their ice floes, the contamination of their water? Or is it that we do know, and simply fear what acknowledging it would mean? In sex of all things, where humans so often misconstrue what other humans want, where the temptation to project our fantasies and images onto the other is always pressing, where coercion and control figure all too easily – can we ever trust ourselves to know, really know, what an animal wants? Perhaps one day there will be members of the animal species Homo sapiens who are able to have sex with other animal species in a way that has nothing to do with the will to dominate, fetishise or transgress. If so, I think, those people would be of our species, but not of our kind.

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