Dirty Mind and Prince’s Ideology of Eros

In a 2016 op/ed for the New York Times, writer Touré attempts to explain the duality of Prince’s persona—as being one who epitomizes (in his words) a kind of “holy lust.” These poles of opposition are observed throughout the artist’s ouevre, but I would also offer that there is another duality explored throughout Prince’s canon which is introduced lyrically in Dirty Mind—that of romantic vulnerability and brash sexuality. These two states of being may seem to be contradictory on the surface, however, they map neatly onto the exploration of the sacred and the profane that Prince considers through song and performance throughout his career. This presentation will explicate the “text” of Dirty Mind and offer that in this album’s tracklist, Prince sets up the framework for his own ideology of Eros.​

Amy Carleton

Amy Carleton, Ph.D., teaches in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program at MIT. Her academic research focuses on online communities as well as the intersection of race and digital culture. Her essays and articles have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, The LA Review of Books, Al Jazeera, NPR, and others.

Both a music lover and advocate for knowledge equity, she is currently bridging her personal and academic interests by collaborating on a series of multi-city community outreach projects that use music as a vehicle to empower a more diverse editor base for Wikipedia and address content gaps on the encyclopedia. She is also working on a book about Prince fan culture.