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Sexuality and History

Tutor: Laura Schwartz

This seminar takes stock of some of the methodological and theoretical approaches to the history of sexuality that students have encountered over the course of the module. It is only relatively recently that scholars have contemplated the possibility that sexuality might have a history, that it is temporally and geographically contingent, and that it is shaped by wider socio-economic and political contexts, rather than being fixed, innate and 'natural'. This seminar also builds on some of the themes and questions introduced in TSM lectures on Gender and Bodies in particular, to focus in more detail on how historians have tried to understand the emergence of sexual identities and categories of sexual orientation over time.

Seminar preparation:

Students are asked to choose one book or article that they have studied in depth over the course of the module, and to give a 5 minutes presentation at the beginning of this seminar on the theoretical and methodological approaches deployed by that author.

Core readings:

H.G. Cocks, ‘Historiographical Review. Modernity and the Self in the History of Sexuality’, The Historical Journal 49:4 (2006), 1211-1227

M. Houlbrook and H. Cocks (eds.), The Modern History of Sexuality (Palgrave, 2006) [Especially the Introduction]

Extended readings:

R.M. Buffington, 'Introduction', in Robert M. Buffington, Eithne Luibheid, Donna J. Guy (eds.), A Global History of Sexuality: The Modern Era (Wiley, 2014)

Mytheli Sreenivas, 'Sexuality and Modern Imperialism', in Robert M. Buffington, Eithne Luibheid, Donna J. Guy (eds.), A Global History of Sexuality: The Modern Era (Wiley, 2014)

L. Faderman, ‘Who Hid Lesbian History’, in S. Morgan (ed.), The Feminist History Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), 205-211.

S. Jeffreys, ‘Does it Matter if the Did It?’, in S. Morgan (ed.), The Feminist History Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), 212-218

M. Vicinus, ‘Lesbian History: All Theory and No Facts or All Facts and No Theory?’, in S. Morgan (ed.), The Feminist History Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), 219-231

J. M. Bennett, ‘”Lesbian-Like” And the Social History of Lesbianisms’, in S. Morgan (ed.), The Feminist History Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), 244-259

L. Rupp, ‘Toward a Global History of Same-Sex Sexuality’, in S. Morgan (ed.), The Feminist History Reader (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), 260-270