So, true story: last fall semester, I wrote a paper on the history of the legality of vibrators from a feminist/cultural theory perspective.
It was for Gender Discrimination and the Law class. And, basically, in struggling to come up with paper topics, it kind of boiled down to this: I was writing a massive paper on torture. I was reading hundreds and hundreds of torture documents. I was working on GTMO and counterterrorism law and torture at my internship 20 hours a week. I had a bazillion (actual number) classes. I had this paper and I knew if I did anything that mattered really intensely to me, anything really emotional and personal, like pro-choice issues, or queer issues, I knew it would destroy me. I just couldn't psychically take on that much. And then, out of the blue, I may have read a blog post or seen a picture or something, I was like FUCK THAT: I am going to write about vibrators.
Basically, I wanted a paper topic that every time I did research for it, or was even just reading on the metro on the way into school, it turned me on. My paper topic made me hot. It was fun and fantastically interesting and now I can whip out all these cool facts and outrageous history at parties (like: a person owning above a certain number of vibrators/sex toys is illegal in my backwards state of Virginia. I am not telling you how many that is, but I do happen to own more. DON'T TELL ON ME).
I have Feminist Legal Theory class this semester (starting next week! Do I come up with paper topics before I ever start classes? - maybe! I just nerd like that!). I think I may want to compare the rules of sex clubs and BDSM play with state-sanctioned law, and how one embraces "yes means yes" and an autonomous female sexuality and pleasure, and the other continues to make women the defenders of their chastity and punishes them for going out while female and drinking. This is a great topic, right? It is interesting, it is sexy, it can include lots of theory (Butler! Foucault! YAY), and it is novel as fuck for a law class.
And I totally think it will have to involve a field trip.