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Seminar 10

Seminar 10: Sex and Birth Control Fertility and sexuality became increasing areas of concern for the state with worries over who were having children and in what numbers and the consequences of venereal disease. In this seminar we will consider the fertility decline and the reasons for it, the impact of contraception and in particular the contraceptive pill, and the local and national government campaigns to address venereal disease.Seminar/Essay Questions:
  1. Do you think the causes of falling fertility are fully understood?
  2. Who do you think controlled family size: women, men or both?
  3. How important do you think the pill has been in changing women’s sexual lives?
  4. Why do you think the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable forms of sexual behaviour shifted during the twentieth century?
Seminar Reading:

D. A. Cohen, ‘Private Lives in Public Spaces: Marie Stopes, The Mothers’ Clinics and the Practice of Contraception’, History Workshop Journal 35 (1993) 96-116.

C. Davey, ‘Birth Control in Britain during the Interwar Years: Evidence from the Stopes Correspondence’ Journal of Family History 13 (1988) 329-345. K. Fisher, ‘“She was Quite Satisfied with the Arrangements I Made”. Gender and Birth Control in Britain, 1920-1950’ Past and Present 169 (2000) 161-193. A. C. T. Geppert, ‘Divine Sex, Happy Marriage, Regenerated Nation: Marie Stopes’s Marital Manual Married Love and the Making of a Best-Seller, 1918-1955’ Journal of the History of Sexuality 8 (1998) 389-433. L. McCray Beier, ‘‘We Were Green as Grass’: Learning about Sex and Reproduction in Three Working-class Lancashire Communities, 1900-1970’ Social History of Medicine 16 (2003) 461-480. W. Secombe, ‘Starting to Stop: Working Class Fertility Decline in Britain’ Past and Present 126 (1990) 151-188.Additional Reading: L. Bland, ‘“Cleansing the Portals of Life”: The Venereal Disease Campaign in the Early Twentieth Century’, in M. Langan and B. Schwartz (eds.), Crises in the British State 1880-1930 (1985) 192-208. L. Bland, Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Mortality 1880-1914 (1995). H. Cook, The Long Sexual Revolution (2004). D. Evans, ‘Tacking the “Hideous Scourge”’ Social History of Medicine 39 (1995) 133-158. K. Fisher, Birth Control, Marriage and in Britain 1918-1960 (2006). K. Fisher and S. Szreter, ‘“They Prefer Withdrawal’: The Choice of Birth Control in Britain, 1918-1950’ Journal of Interdisciplinary History 34 (2003). D. Gittins, Fair Sex, Family Size and Structure, 1900-1939 (1982). L. Hall, Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain since 1880 (2000). R. Hall (ed.), Dear Dr. Stopes: Sex in the 1920s (1978). L.A. Hall, ‘Venereal Diseases and Society and Britain, from the Contagious Diseases Acts to the National Health Service’ in R. Davidson and L.A. Hall, Sex, Sin and Suffering Venereal Disease and European Society since 1870 (2001) 120-136. S. Humphries, A Secret World of Sex: Forbidden Fruit: The British Experience 1900-1950 (1988). S. Jeffrys, The Spinster and her Enemies: Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930 (1985). R. McKibbin ‘Introduction’ in M. Stopes, Married Love (2004). L. Marks, Sexual Chemistry: A History of the Contraceptive Pill (2001). F. Mort, Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830 (2000). A. Oram and A. Turnbull (eds.), The Lesbian History Sourcebook: Love and Sex (2001). R. Porter, Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of Attitudes towards Sexuality (1994). R. Porter and L. Hall, The Facts of Life: The Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain, 1650-1950 (1995). Royal Commission on Population, Report (1949). L. Stanley, Sex Surveyed 1949-94: from Mass Observation’s Little Kinsey to the National Survey and the Hite Report (1995). S. Szretzer, Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain 1860-1940 (1996). R. Titmuss and K. Titmuss, Parents Revolt: A Study of the Declining Birth-rate in Acquisitive Societies (1942). P. Thane, ‘Population and the Family’ in P. Addison and H. Jones, A Companion to Contemporary Britain 1939-2000 (2005). J. Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1880 (1989). J. Weeks et al (eds.), Sexualities and Society - A Reader (2003).