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Thomas Laqueur at Warwick

Professor Laqueur speaking with members of the audienceOn 9 June 2004, Thomas Laqueur, Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, gave a talk on 'Medicine and Masturbation in Historical Perspective' at the Centre for the History of Medicine.

Professor Laqueur is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking book Making Sex, in which he describes the medical discovery or invention of sex difference. His recent publication, Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation, has been praised by Stephen Greenblatt as ‘brilliant’ and ‘courageous’.

The event was to commemorate the launch of ‘Cultures and Practices of Health’, a programme of research activity to be undertaken by the Centre for the History of Medicine at Warwick and funded by a generous award from the Wellcome Trust.

‘We are delighted to have had Professor Laqueur here to celebrate the launch of ‘Cultures and Practices of Health,’’ said Dr Hilary Marland, Director of the Centre. ‘He has made an enormous impact on the study of sexuality and so represents the field of medical and cultural history with great distinction.’

The lecture was attended by approximately 80 staff, students, and members of the public. It was preceded by tea with Centre staff and graduate students, and followed by a reception at which members of the audience could speak with Professor Laqueur informally over a glass of wine.