Panel discussion
The Laws of Desire: Featuring Carolin Emcke

Carolin Emcke
© Andreas Labes

The Great Hall of the Cooper Union

Boy or girl, straight or gay—what happens when the binaries that define our sexual identities begin to bend? Join us for a fascinating look at how the traditional laws of desire evolve over time for lovers and writers alike. Former war correspondent Carolin Emcke opens the evening with a reading from How We Desire, a transcendent fusion of memoir and essay that lays bare her journey of sexual identity. Acclaimed French novelist Édouard Louis discusses the liberating potential of personal reinvention, and the intersection of identity and desire across generations, with MacArthur “Genius” Grant-winning choreographer, director, and writer Bill T. Jones. And New Yorker writer and activist Masha Gessen joins Emcke for a conversation on transgression and sexual realization, beyond the borders imposed by society. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind discussion of what is gained—and left behind—when the laws of desire are rewritten.

Carolin Emcke is a prominent journalist, academic, and author. Between 1998 and 2006, she reported for Der Spiegel from some of the world’s most troubled regions. Her significant contribution to public debate and intellectual life has been recognized by many awards, including the Otto Brenner Prize for Critical Journalism, the Lessing Prize, and the Peace Prize of the German Publishers’ Association.

Hosted by The Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs.

Laws of Desire is part of the PEN World Voices Festival, taking place from May 6-12. Join more than 125 writers and artists representing over 50 nationalities in New York City for the 2019 PEN World Voices Festival: Open Secrets. In 60+ events in venues across New York City, the 15th anniversary of New York’s first international literary festival will gather nonfiction and fiction writers, thinkers, and activists to discuss what we reveal and what we withhold, and the opportunities and dangers inherent in the rapid reconfiguring of the public and the private in the literary, cultural, social, and political realms.

This event is also part of the Goethe-Institut New York’s “Queer as German Folk” series, with which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 2019 as a milestone in the fight for gender diversity and equality.


The Great Hall of the Cooper Union

41 Cooper Sq.
New York, NY 10003
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika

Language: English
Price: $20
+1 212 4398700