Home » Departments and Centres » History and Civilization » Research & Teaching » Seminars » 2018-2019 1st term » Gender & Sexuality

Gender & Sexuality

Departmental Seminar

Organised by  Prof Laura Downs and  Prof Pieter Judson
Registration code: HEC-DS-GENSEX-18
Tuesdays, 15:10 - 17:00, Sala del Torrino
Starts on 9 October 2018

Admin. Assistant:  Francesca Parenti


Seminar description

The study of gender and sexuality is bound up, historically, with the emergence of second-wave feminism and of sexual liberation movements in the post war period. These activist origins produced one of the key elements that has marked the fields of gender and sexuality ever since: the highly productive proximity to social and political movements. The political urgency of the theoretical tasks activists set for themselves also encouraged forms of interdisciplinary encounters from the very start, and these continue to mark the fields in distinctive ways as well. To pursue political aims through academic engagement has also posed specific challenges regarding the scientific construction of the object of study and the kind of distance that construction demands. This challenge and its historical evolution will be one of the themes that winds its way through discussion in our gender and sexuality seminar. 

The seminar readings and discussions will be fruitful not only for those who work directly with issues of gender and sexuality fields but also for researchers who aim to develop a critical understanding about how different disciplines in the human and social sciences are structured and influenced by social and political values at specific times and places, values which then become embedded in academic work.  



9 October: Introductory session 

  • LL Downs, “Gender History” in Peter Burke et Marek Tamm, eds. Debating New Approaches in History (Bloomsbury, 2018)
  • Afsaneh Najmabadi,"Beyond the Americas: Are Gender and Sexuality Useful Categories of Historical Analysis?" Journal of Women’s History 18/1 (2006), pp. 11-21

16 October: Gender and Labor

  • Malgorzata Fidelis, Women, Communism and Industrialization in Postwar Poland, intro and Ch. 4, “New Women for New Occupations: The Case of Coal Mining,” pp. 1-19, 130-169
  • Suggested: LL Downs, Manufacturing Inequality: Gender Division in the French and British Metalworking Industries, 1914-1939 (Cornell, 1995), Intro, Ch. 3, Ch. 6

23 October: Politics of the Family I

  • Clare Chambers, Against Marriage. An Egalitarian Defense of the Marriage-Free State (intro and chapter 1)
  • Suggested: Carole Pateman, “The Fraternal Sexual Contract,” in John Keane, ed., Civil Society and the State: New European Perspectives (Verso, 1988)

30 October: Halloween and Hermaphrodites

  • Dan Healy, Bolshevik Sexual Forensics: Diagnosing Disorder in the Clinic and Courtroom, 1917-1939 (Northern Illinois, 2009), Ch. 5, “Bodies in Search of a Sex,” pp. 134-158
  • Geertje A. Mak, “Conflicting Heterosexualities: Hermaphroditism and the Emergence of Surgery around 1900,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 24, no. 3 (2015), pp. 402-427

6 November: Politics of the Family II

Presentation by Shazia Choudry (Law, Queen Mary),"The ways that domestic abusers use paternal visitation rights law to persecute former partners and their children"

  • Shazia Choudhry (Law, Queen Mary) 'When Women's Rights Are Not Human Rights - The Non- Performativity of the Human Rights of Women Victims of Violence in the English Family Court System'
  • “Executive Summary” (pp 5-8) in Jenny Birchall and Shazia Choudhry, “’What about my Right not to be Abused?’ Domestic Abuse, Human Rights and the Family Courts,” Women’s Aid Federation of England, 2018

13 November: (Homo)Sexuality and Politics I

Presentation by Sean Brady (Birkbeck College), “Masculinities and Sexualities in Northern Ireland’s History”

  • Readings TBA

20 November: (Homo)Sexuality and Politics II: (Post-)Colonial Contexts

  • Todd Shepard, “‘Something Notably Erotic’: Politics, ‘Arab Men,’ and Sexual Revolution in Post-decolonization France, 1962-1974,” Journal of Modern History 84 (March 2012), pp. 80-115

27 November: War

  • Jason Crouthamel, “Male Sexuality and Psychological Trauma: Soldiers and Sexual Disorder in World War I and Weimar Germany,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 17, no. 1 (Jan. 2008): 60-84
  • Karen Petrone, “Masculinity and Herosim in Imperial and Soviet Military-Patriotic Cultures,” in Russian Masculinities in History and Culture, Barbara Evans Clements, Rebecca Friedman, and Dan Healey, ed.s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 172-193
  • John Boonstra, “Women’s Honour and the Black Shame: Coloured Frenchmen and Respectable Comportment in the Post-World War I Occupied Rhineland,” German History 33, no.4 (Dec. 2015): 546-569

4 December: Gender and Age

  • David Pomfret, Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia (Stanford, 2016), Chapter 1, “Introduction: Childhood and the Reordering of Empire,” pp. 1-21
  • David Pomfret, Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia (Stanford, 2016), Chapter 7, "Sick Traffic: 'Child Slavery' and Imperial Networks", pp. 178-208
  • Rachel Leow, “Age as a Category of Gender Analysis: Servant Girls, Modern Girls, and Gender in Southeast Asia,” The Journal of Asian Studies 71 (2012), pp. 975-990

Suggested reading:

  • Jialin Christina Wu, “‘A Life of Make-Believe’: Being Boy Scouts and ‘Playing Indian’ in British Malaya (1910-42),” Gender & History 26, no. 3 (Nov. 2014), pp. 589-619

11 December: Sources



Page last updated on 24 September 2018