Presented by The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN) Postdoc, Aaron Norton

In 2007, the WHO endorsed male circumcision as an important strategy in combatting the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa after three randomized controlled trials demonstrated MC’s ability to reduce risk of female-to-male HIV transmission. In this talk, I discuss the role played by claims regarding the foreskin’s inherent penetrability in promoting circumcision as an HIV-risk reduction strategy that should inform U.S. circumcision policy. In a partial shift from past HIV-classification regimes focused on sexual identity or behavior, I suggest that rhetorically locating risk in the foreskin constructs the uncircumcised body’s sexual future as inherently risky, often irrespective of other important considerations.

Aaron Norton received his PhD in Psychology in 2014 from the University of California, Davis. His dissertation drew upon interdisciplinary perspectives on risk to examine the science, ethics, and politics of male circumcision’s emergence as an HIV-risk category and prevention strategy. He is a postdoctoral fellow with the Sexualities Project at Northwestern.