HIS 350L • History of Sexuality in America-W
This course surveys the history of four centuries of American ideas about sex and sexuality. We will attempt to understand historical changes in conceptions of sexual desire, "normal" behavior, and sexual orientations. We will also examine the ways that sexuality has been regulated through various legal, social, and political means, and the ways it has been represented in the media. The class will challenge the notion that American history has moved from the repressive world of the Puritans to the more liberated, modern ideals of the twenty-first century. Readings are grouped chronologically, with about three weeks devoted to each century. Special attention is paid to readings that draw connections between sexuality and race, class, and gender.
Texts will include: Beth Bailey, From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America Susan Douglas, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media Hannah Foster, The Coquette Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Volume I Estelle Freedman & John D'Emilio, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America Claude McKay, Home to Harlem Elizabeth Reis, American Sexual Histories Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth Films will include: The Celluloid Closet (1995) The Contender (2000) Extase (1932) Fight Club (1999) Splendor in the Grass (1959)