REL 241
History of Sexuality Spring 2018 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as HIST292 / GBST241 / WGSS239 / REL241
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Is sexuality an immutable aspect of who we are or is it socially constructed? How have people understood sex and sexuality throughout history? Why does religion have any say in the sexual lives of individuals and society? What are sexual transgressions and why are they punished? Is sex a commodity that can be exchanged for money? Is sex political? This course will explore these questions through a historical approach, focusing in particular on the shifting understanding of sex and sexuality across historical time and different geographical regions. In investigating the category of sexuality, this course will push us to consider three key questions: 1) Is sexuality a useful category for historical analysis, 2) how have our assumptions regarding sexuality and sexual ethics taken shape and changed over time and 3) how do social, cultural, political, and economic conditions affect changing meanings of sexuality. Historical studies will be read in conjunction with different theoretical frameworks about sexuality. Reading historical accounts of sexuality alongside theoretical pieces will allow us to consider how historians construct an argument and the influence of theoretical frameworks in shaping scholarship. Some of the theorists we will read in the course include: Michel Foucault, David Halperin, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Valerie Traub, and Carla Freccero.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3308
Requirements/Evaluation: reading responses, two essays, and final research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion, History, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative;

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