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Weekly Seminar Topics and Readings

To help you go through the readings, I have classified them into three main categories (not always mutually exclusive): readings marked with “T” are more theoretically driven; readings marked with “M” feature methodological or historiographical discussions; and readings marked with “P” have been published as original research based on primary sources.


Autumn Term

Unit I: Frames

Week 1 - Introduction (Oct. 7)

  • [M] Joan Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (December 1986): 1053-75. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Carole Vance, “Social Construction Theory: Problems in the History of Sexuality,” in Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, ed. Peter M. Nardi and Beth E. Schneider (Routledge, 1998 [1989]), 160-170. (PDF Document)
  • [M] David Halperin, “Is There a History of Sexuality?” in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, ed. Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David Halperinn (Routledge, 1993), 416-431. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Lisa Duggan, “The Discipline Problem: Queer Theory Meets Lesbian and Gay History,” GLQ 2 (1995): 179-191. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Afsaneh Najmabadi, “Beyond the Americas: Are Gender and Sexuality Useful Categories of Historical Analysis?” Journal of Women’s History 18, no. 1 (2006): 11-21. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Robert M. Buffington, Eithne Luibhéid, and Donna J. Guy, eds., A Global History of Sexuality: The Modern Era (Wiley Blackwell, 2014).

Week 2 - Gender (Oct. 14)

  • [T] Judith Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination,” in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, ed. Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David Halperin (Routledge, 1993), 307-320. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Michael G. Peletz, “Gender Pluralism: Muslim Southeast Asia since Early Modern Times,” Social Research 78, no. 2 (2011): 659-686. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Bonnie Smith, “Men and Facts,” in The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, 2000), 130-156. (PDF Document)
  • [P] George Chauncey, “Christian Brotherhood or Sexual Perversion? Homosexual Identities and the Construction of Sexual Boundaries in the World War One Era,” Journal of Social History 19, no. 2 (1985): 189-211. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Colin Johnson, “Hard Women,” in Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America (Temple University Press, 2013), 158-180. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Merry E. Weisner-Hanks, Gender in History: Global Perspectives, 2nd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Week 3 - The Body (Oct. 21)

  • [P] Thomas Laqueur, “Discovery of the Sexes,” in Making Sex: Body and Gender from Greeks to Freud (Harvard University Press, 1990), 149-192. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Joanne Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (Harvard University Press, 2002). [e-book]
  • Book Review Option: Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (Basic Books, 2000).

Week 4 - Sexuality (Oct. 28)

  • [T] Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (Random House, 1978, originally 1976), 3-49 and 92-114. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Introduction: Axiomatic,” in Epistemology of the Closet (University of California Press, 1990), 1-65. (PDF Document)
  • [M] David Halperin, “Forgetting Foucault: Acts, Identities, and the History of Sexuality,” Representations 63 (1998): 93-120. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Valerie Traub, “The New Unhistoricism in Queer Studies,” PMLA 128, no. 1 (2013): 21-39. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Arnold Davidson, “Sex and the Emergence of Sexuality,” Critical Inquiry 14, no. 1 (1987): 16-48. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Raquel A. G. Reyes and William G. Clarence-Smith, eds., Sexual Diversity in Asia, c. 600-1950 (Routledge, 2012).

Week 5 - Modernity (Nov. 4)

  • [P] Alan Bray, “Homosexuality and the Signs of Male Friendship in Elizabethan England,” History Workshop 29 (1990): 1-19. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth-Century America,” Signs 1, no. 1 (1975): 1-29. (PDF Document)
  • [M] John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity,” in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, ed. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharan Thompson (Monthly Review Press, 1983), 100-113. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (University of California Press, 2005), chaps. 1, 2, 3, and 5. [e-book]
  • Book Review Option: Robert Beachy, Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Knopf, 2014).

Week 6 - Reading Week: No Seminar (Nov. 11)

  • Please use this week to watch as many of the films to be discussed later as possible.

Unit II: Periods

Week 7 - The Global Interbellum (Nov. 18) - time & location change to 12-2pm in H1.03

  • [M] Esther Newton, “The Mythic Mannish Lesbian: Radclyffe Hall and the New Woman,” Signs 9, no. 4 (1984): 557-575. (PDF Document)
  • [P] George Chauncey, “The Forging of Queer Identities and the Emergence of Heterosexuality in Middle-Class Culture,” in Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Basic Books, 1994), 99-127. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Modern Girl Around the World Research Group, “The Modern Girl Around the World: A Research Agenda and Preliminary Findings,” Gender & History 17, no. 2 (2005): 245-294. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Priti Ramamurthy, “The Modern Girl in India in the Interwar Years: Interracial Intimacies, International Competition, and Historical Eclipsing,” Women's Studies Quarterly 34, nos. 1/2 (2006): 197-223. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Lynn Thomas, “The Modern Girl and Racial Respectability in 1930s South Africa,” Journal of African History 47 (2006): 461-490. (PDF Document)
  • Optional Film: James Ivory, The Bostonians (1984)
  • Book Review Option: Matt Houlbrook, Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Week 8 - Cold War Desires (Nov. 25) - time & location change to 12-2pm in H1.03

  • [P] Dan Healey, “Comrades, Queers, and ‘Oddballs’: Sodomy, Masculinity, and Gendered Violence in Leningrad Province of the 1950s,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 21, no. 3 (2012): 496-522. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Lois Banner, Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox (Bloomsbury, 2012). [copies available in the library]
  • Optional Film: Vincente Minnelli, Tea and Sympathy (1954)
  • Book Review Option: Dan Healey, Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Week 9 - Sexual Revolutions (Dec. 2)

  • [M] Gert Hakma and Alain Giami, “Sexual Revolutions: An Introduction,” in Sexual Revolutions, ed. Gert Hakma and Alain Giami (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). (PDF Document)
  • [P] Carrie Pitzulo, “The Battle in Every Man’s Bed: Playboy and the Fiery Feminists,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 17, no. 2 (May 2008): 259-289. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Lynn Chancer, “From Pornography to Sadomasochism: Reconciling Feminist Differences,” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 571, no. 1 (2000): 77-88. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Alfred I. Tauber, “Postmodernism and Immune Selfhood,” Science in Context 8 (1995): 579-607. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Everett Yuehong Zhang, “Rethinking Sexual Repression in Maoist China: Ideology, Structure, and the Ownership of the Body,” Body & Society 11, no. 3 (2005): 1-25. (PDF Document)
  • Film: Jim Hubbard, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012) []
  • Book Review Option: Carrie Hamilton, Sexual Revolutions in Cuba: Passion, Politics, and Memory (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

Week 10 - The Age of Gaga (Dec. 9)

  • [T] Michael Warner, “Normal and Normaller: Beyond Gay Marriage,” GLQ 5, no. 2 (1999): 119-171. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Judith Butler, “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?” differences 13, no. 1 (2002): 14-44. (PDF Document)
  • [T] J. Jack Halberstam, Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012). [e-book]
  • [M] Brief of Historians of Marriage and the American Historical Association as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners, Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015). (PDF Document)
  • Film: Wong Kar-Wai, Happy Together (1997) []
  • Book Review Option: George Chauncey, Why Marriage?: The History Shaping Today’s Debate Over Gay Equality (Basic Books, 2004).


Spring Term

Unit III: Encounters

Week 1 - Cultural Embodiments of Colonial Pathology (Jan. 13)

  • [P] Richard Keller, “Taking Science to the Colonies: Psychiatric Innovation in France and North Africa,” in Psychiatry and Empire, ed. Sloan Mahone and Megan Vaughn (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 17-40. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Ari Larissa Heinrich, The Afterlife of Images: Translating the Pathological Body between China and the West (Duke University Press, 2008). [e-book]
  • Book Review Option: Ann Laura Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (University of California Press, 2002).

Week 2 - Nationalism, the Body Politic, and Their Record (Jan. 20)

  • [M] Joan Scott, “The Evidence of Experience,” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (Summer 1991): 773-797. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Dorothy Ko, Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding (University of California Press, 2005), chaps. 1, 2, and 6. [e-book]
  • [T] Anjali Arondekar, “Without A Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 14 (2005): 10-27. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Stephen Legg, Prostitution and the Ends of Empire: Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India (Duke University Press, 2014).

Week 3 - Biological and Social Reproduction (Jan. 27) - time & location change to 12-2pm in H3.57

  • [P] Nancy Rose Hunt, A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo (Duke University Press, 1999). [e-book]
  • Book Review Option: Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002).

Week 4 - The Scientific Stance (Feb. 3)

  • [P] Siobhan Somerville, “Scientific Racism and the Emergence of the Homosexual Body,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 5, no. 2 (1994): 243-266. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Heike Bauer, ed., Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters across the Modern World (Temple University Press, 2015), introduction & chapters 7, 8, 10, and 12. (PDF Document) (PDF Document) (PDF Document) (PDF Document) (PDF Document)
  • [P] Howard Chiang, “Translating Culture and Psychiatry across the Pacific: How Koro Became Culture-Bound,” History of Science 53, no. 1 (2015): 102-119. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Henry Minton, Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Rights and Emancipatory Science in America (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Week 5 - Filmic Encounters with the Past (Feb. 10)

**2,500-word short essay due at the beginning of the seminar**

Week 6 - Reading Week: No Seminar (Feb. 17)

Unit IV: Trans

Week 7 - Transgender Trouble (Feb. 24)

  • [P] Gayatri Reddy, “Hijras, Individuality, and Izzat,” in With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India (University of Chicago Press, 2005), 17-43. (PDF Document)
  • [P] David Valentine, “Imagining Transgender” and “The Making of a Field,” in Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category (Duke University Press, 2007), 29-65 and 143-172. (PDF Document) (PDF Document)
  • [M] Howard Chiang, “Imagining Transgender China,” in Transgender China, ed. Howard Chiang (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 3-19. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Gayle Salamon, “Boys of the Lex: Transgenderism and Rhetorics of Materiality,” GLQ 12, no. 4 (2006): 575-597. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Michael Peletz, Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times (Routledge, 2009).

Week 8 - Transnational Rhizomes or Asymmetric Worlds (Mar. 2)

  • [M] Dennis Altman, “Rupture or Continuity? The Internationalization of Gay Identities,” Social Text 48 (1996): 77-94. (PDF Document)
  • [P] Joseph A. Massad, “Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World,” Public Culture 14, no. 2 (2002): 361-385. (PDF Document)
  • [M] Leila J. Rupp, “Toward a Global History of Same-Sex Sexuality,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 10, no. 2 (2001): 287-302. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Eng-Beng Lim, “Glocalqueering in New Asia: The Politics of Performing Gay in Singapore,” Theatre Journal 57, no. 3 (2005): 383-405. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Howard Chiang and Alvin K. Wong, “Queering the Transnational Turn: Regionalism and Queer Asias,” Gender, Place and Culture (forthcoming). (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Leila J. Rupp, Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women (New York University Press, 2011).

Week 9 - Transgressing Borders, Affects, and Objects (Mar. 9) - time & location change to 11-1pm on Mon in H449

  • [M] Heather Love, “Emotional Rescue: The Demands of Queer History,” in Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard University Press, 2007), 31-52. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Nguyen Tan Hoang, “The Resurrection of Brandon Lee: The Making of a Gay Asian American Porn Star,” in Porn Studies, ed. Linda Williams (Duke University Press, 2004), 223-270. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Jasbir Puar, “Mapping US Homonormativities,” Gender, Place, and Culture 13, no. 1 (2006): 67-88. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Mel Y. Chen, “Toxic Animacies, Inanimate Affections,” GLQ 17, nos. 2-3 (2011): 265-286. (PDF Document)
  • [T] Kane Race, “‘Party and Play’: Online Hook-up Devices and the Emergence of PNP Practices among Gay Men,” Sexualities 18, no. 3 (2015): 253-275. (PDF Document)
  • Book Review Option: Heather Love, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard University Press, 2007).

Week 10 - Transforming the Self (Mar. 16)

  • [P] Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke University Press, 2013). [e-book]
  • Book Review Option: Everett Yuehong Zhang, The Impotence Epidemic: Men’s Medicine and Sexual Desire in Contemporary China (Duke University Press, 2015).


Summer Term

Week 1 - Revision Session (Apr. 27)

Week 2 - Mock Exam Due (May 4)