Dr. Jessica Hille

Gender and Sexuality Scholar; Assistant Director for Education, Kinsey Institute

Kinsey— Let's talk about sex, baby!

"Let's talk about sex, baby!" - Alfred Kinsey*

*Okay, so Kinsey never said that *exactly*, but his pioneering work in the field of sexuality and gender studies meant a lot of people—academics and laypeople alike—began talking about sex, sexuality, gender and sexual pleasure without shame or guilt. Preceding KINSEY, Dr. Jessica Hille, gender and sexuality scholar and the Assistant Director for Education at the Kinsey Institute, will provide more insight into the man behind the character we see on screen, share how his work continues to be hugely impactful today, and how science backed study, combined with listening, learning and research, can be very sexy indeed.

Gene Siskel Film Center Chicago, IL

Film Synopsis

A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.

Based on a true story, this Academy Award-nominated film chronicles the life of pioneering researcher Alfred Kinsey. After being hired to teach biology at Indiana University, Kinsey (Liam Neeson) meets and marries a witty, freethinking female student, Clara McMillen (Laura Linney). In the course of his teaching, he discovers an astonishing dearth of scientific data on sexual behavior. When students seek him out for advice about sexual concerns and problems, he realizes that no one has done the clinical research that would yield reliable answers to their questions. Inspired to explore the emotionally charged subject of sex from a strictly scientific point of view, Kinsey recruits a team of researchers. Over time they refine an interviewing technique, which helps people to break through shame, fear, and guilt and speak freely about their sexual histories. When Kinsey publishes his male study in 1948, the press compares the impact to that of the atom bomb. But as the country enters the more paranoid Cold War era of the 1950s, Kinsey's follow-up study on women is seen as an attack on basic American values. The ensuing outrage and scorn causes Kinsey's benefactors to abandon him. At the same time, the jealousies and acrimony caused by Kinsey's attempt to create a private sexual utopia threaten to tear apart the research team and expose them to unwelcome scrutiny.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jessica Hille is a gender and sexuality scholar and the Assistant Director for Education at the Kinsey Institute. In this role, she runs the Institute's continuing education program, serves as a Co-director for the Scholarly Concentration in Human Sexuality and Health with the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Medicine, and launched the Kinsey Institute Book Club, among other initiatives. Her research focuses on asexuality and ace spectrum identities, LGBTQ+ healthcare, and critical theory. Dr. Hille completed her PhD in Gender Studies at Indiana University with a PhD minor in Human Sexuality from the Kinsey Institute. Before coming to IU, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago, a JD from Washington University in St. Louis, and an LLM in Health Law and Policy from the University of Washington - Seattle.