The understanding of sexuality is key to the definition of gender roles as well as to the analysis of family and kinship structures. Even in the beginning of the 21th century, sexuality still remains the crucial subject of cultural debates and social conflicts. Today’s conflicts about the rights of the LGTBQ communities in different countries are a striking example of the persistence of the problem.
Historical perspective is essential for understanding how different states and societies define sexual rules, which are linked to different forms of power, gender relations and family patterns. This course, and the international audience of VIU, will provide the opportunity to compare different sexual cultures and traditions and to discuss their connections with different forms of society and power.
In classes we will discuss several seminal Western contributions to the history of sexuality and reflect on their suitability for other areas of the world. Lectures about family and sexuality history in other areas of the world will provide material for comparison.
The students will be introduced to seminal contributions to the history of sexuality, such as the texts of Michel Foucault, as well as to new approaches and to critical reflections on gender and sexuality.
- Western moral Theology and Sexuality
- Sexuality and arts
- Population and Demography
- Family Systems
- Homosexuality and « deviance »
- Illegitimacy and Sexual Repression
The method of instruction will be input lectures, newspaper articles, in-class exercises, and (if possible) invited guest lectures. Sessions will be supported by the assignment of seminal readings. The students will be encouraged to discuss actual issues linked to sexuality and to reflect on their historical roots. During sessions, we will structure discussion around students’ own different experiences in their countries and about the different sexual and family traditions - all in connection to what they read as supportive material. I expect rich discussions given the diverse composition of the audience and the different cultural contexts. Articles will be read through the lens of central concepts, in the history of sexuality and in the history of family and kinship.
Students’ grades will be composed of three pillars:
1. Personnal research on selected readings (30%)
2. Class participation (20%)
3. Group project and seminar paper (50%)
Upon finishing this course students should be able to:
- discuss actual issues about sexuality with regard to different historical traditions
- get familiar with the most recent trends in the field of the history of sexuality
- understand and distinguish different historical or religious traditions
- get familiar with central concept and tools of gender and sexuality history
- work with academic literature, especially in the fields of history, sociology and anthropology
- be aware of the connection between sexuality, gender, kinship and politics.
Robert P. MacCubbin (éd.), ‘“Tis nature’s fault”. Unauthorized Sexual Behaviour during the Enlightenment’, New York: The college of William and Mary, 1985.
John Addy, Sin and Society in the Seventeenth Century, London: Routledge, 1989.
Cristian Berco, Sexual Hierarchies, Public Status: Men, Sodomy and Society in Spain's Golden Age. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.
John E. Boswell 1980: Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Chicago / London, 1980.
lan Bray 1982: Homosexuality in Renaissance England. New York ; London: Gay Men's Press, 1982. Anna Clark, Desire: a History of European Sexuality, New York ; London: Routledge, 2008.
Ansley J. Coale, Susan Cotts Watkins, , The Decline of Fertility in Europe. The Revised Proceedings of a Conference on the Princeton European Fertility Project, Princeton, 1986.
Harry G. Cocks, Matt Houlbrook, (eds.), Palgrave Advances in the Modern History of Sexuality, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Hera Cook, The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex and Contraception 1800-1875, Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2004.
Kathrin Crawford, European Sexualities, 1400-1800. New Approaches to European History, Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 2006.
Robert Darnton. The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1995.
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. The Will to Knowledge, New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.
Catherine Gallagher, Thomas Laqueur, The Making of the Modern Body: Sexuality and Society in the Nineteenth Century, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.
Stephen Garton, Histories of Sexuality, London; New York: Routledge, 2004.
John Gillis, David Levine and Louise Tilly (eds.), The European Experience of Declining Fertility; a Quiet Revolution 1850-1970, Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.
Jack Goody, The Developpement of Family and Marriage in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983.
Sandro Guzzi-Heeb, “Sex, Politics, and Social Change in the Eighteenth and the Nineteenth Centuries: Evidence from the Swiss Alps” in: Journal of Family History 36, October 2011, p. 367-386.
Sandro Guzzi-Heeb, “What has the ‘first sexual revolution’ to do with kinship transition? ‘Kin marriages’ and illicit sexuality in nineteenth-century Alpine Switzerland”, The History of the Family, 23/3, 2018, p. 388-407.
Tim Hitchcock, English Sexualities, 1700-1800, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 1997.
Eleanor Hubbard, City Women: Money, Sex, and the Social Order in Early Modern London, Oxford: Oxford U.P. 2012.
Isabel V. Hull, Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815, Ithaca, London : Cornell Univ. Press, 1996.
Lynn Avery Hunt, The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500-1800, New York: Zone, 1993.
Martin Ingram, Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570-1640, New York: Cambridge U. P., 1987.
Mark Jackson, New-Born Child Murder. Women, Illegitimacy and the Courts in Eighteenth-Century England, Manchester : Manchester Univ. Press, 1996.
Christopher H. Johnson and David W. Sabean (eds.), Sibling Relations and the Transformations of European Kinship, 1300-1900, New York, 2011.
Christopher H. Johnson, Becoming bourgeois. Love, Kinship, and Power in Provincial France, 1670–1880, Ithaca (US): Cornell U. P., 2015.
Susan E. Klepp, Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Eukene Lacarra Lanz, Marriage and Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, London : Routledge, 2002.
Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex. Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, Boston: Harvard U. P., 1990.
Peter Laslett, Family Life and Illicit Love in earlier Generations, Cambridge, New York, Cambridge U. P. 1977.
Peter Laslett, Oosterveen, Karla, Smith Richard M. (éds.), Bastardy and its Comparative History, London: E. Arnold, 1980.
Ron J. Lesthaege, The Decline of Belgian Fertility, 1800-1970, Princeton (N.J.), Princeton Univ. Press, 1977.
David Levine, Family Formation in an Age of Nascent Capitalism, New York: Academic Press, 1977.
Clare A. Lyons, Sex Among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia 1730-1830, Chapel Hill : U.N.C. Press 2006.
Angus McLaren, Reproduction Rituals: The Perception of Fertility in England from the 16th c. to the 19th Century, London: Methuen 1984.
Kevin McQuillan, Culture, Religion, and Demographic Behaviour: Catholics and Lutherans in Alsace, 1750-1870, Liverpool: Liverpool U. P., 1999.
William E. Monter, “Sodomy and Heresy in Early Modern Switzerland”, in: Licata, Salvatore J. & Robert P. Petersen (eds.), The Gay Past: A Collection of Historical Essays. Harrington Park Press, New York (Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 6, numbers 1/2, Fall/Winter 1980.
George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe, New York: H. Fertig, 1985.
George L. Mosse, The Image of Man: the Creation of Modern Masculinity, New York, Oxford Univ. Press 1998.
William G. Naphy, Sex Crimes from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Stroud, (U.K.): Tempus 2002.
Robert A. Nye (ed.), Sexuality, Oxford [etc.] : Oxford U. P. 1999.
Kim M. Phillips, Barry Reay, Sexualities in History. A Reader, New York, 2001.
Roy Porter, Marie Mulvey Roberts, Pleasure in the Eighteenth Century, Basingstoke: Macmillan 1996.
Roy Porter, Mikuláš Teich, (eds.), Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: the History of Attitudes to Sexuality, Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1994.
Helmuth Puff, Sodomy in Reformation Germany and Switzerland, 1400-1600, Chicago-London: Chicago Univ. Press, 2003.
Geoffrey Robert Quaife, Wanton Wenches and Wayward Wives: Peasants and Illicit Sex in Early Seventeenth century England, London: Croom Helm, 1979.
John M. Riddle, Eve's Herbs. A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West, Cambridge, Mass., 1997.
M. Rocke, Forbidden Frienships. Homosexuality and Male culture in Renaissance Florence, New York , Oxford, Oxford U.P. 1996.
Ellen Bayuk Rosenman, Unauthorized pleasures: Accounts of Victorian Erotic Experience, Ithaca, N.Y.; London: Cornell U. P., 2003.
Georges S. Rousseau, Roy Porter, (éds.), Sexual Underworlds of the Enlightenment, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
Guido Ruggero, The Boundares of Eros: Sex, Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice, London, New York, : Oxford U.P. 1989.
David Warren Sabean, Simon Teuscher, Jon Mathieu, Kinship in Europe: Approaches to the Long-Term Development (13001900), New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007 .
Wally Seccombe, A Millenium of Family Change: Feudalism to Capitalism in North-western Europe, London: Verso, 1992.
Edward Shorter, “Illegitimacy, Sexual Revolution and Social Change in Modern Europe”,
Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2, 1971, p. 237-272.
Edward Shorter, The Making of the Modern Family, New York: Basic Books, 1975.
Edward Shorter, Written in the Flesh. A History of Desire, Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
S. Spector, H. Puff, d. Herzog (eds.), After the History of Sexuality. German Genealogies with and beyond Foucault, New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books 2012.
Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500 – 1800. New York et al.: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977.
Lawrence Stone, Broken Lives. Separation and Divorce in England, 1660-1857, New York: Oxford U.P. 1993.
Ulrike Strasser, State of Virginity: Gender, Religion and Politics in an early modern Catholic State, Ann Arbor : The University of Michigan Press, 2004.
Jeffrey R. Watt, The Making of Modern Marriage: Matrimonial Control and the Rise of Sentiment in Neuchâtel, 1550-1800, Ithaca (N.Y.) etc.: Cornell U.P., 1992.
Jeffrey R. Watt, “The Family, Love and Suicide in Early Modern Geneva“, in: Journal of family history, 21 1996, 63-86.
Merry E. Wiesner, Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World: Regulating Desire, Reforming Practice, London: Routledge, 20102 (20001).
J. Witte, Robert M. Kingdon, Sex, Marriage and Family Life in John Calvin’s Geneva. Courtship, engagement and Marriage, Grand Rapids; W.B. Erdmans Publishing 2005.
Lisa Zunshine, Bastards and Foundlings. Illegitimacy in Eighteenth-Century England, Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 2005.
Last updated: May 11, 2023