Home » Departments and Centres » History and Civilization » Research & Teaching » Seminars » 2nd term 2019-2020 » Gender and Sexuality

Gender and Sexuality

Departmental Seminar

Organised by Prof. Laura L. DownsProf. Pieter M. Judson and Dr Milica Prokic
Registration code: HEC-DS-GENSEX-19
Thursdays 11:00-12:50, Sala del Torrino

Starts on 9 January 2020
Admin. Assistant: Francesca Parenti


Enrolled participants only

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 January: Introductory session

  • Laura Lee Downs, “Gender History” in Peter Burke et Marek Tamm, eds. Debating New Approaches in History (Bloomsbury, 2018)

Part I: Sex, gender and bodies

16 January: Normative Genders

  • Gertje 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
  • R. Krafft-Ebing, Excerpts from Psychopathia Sexualis, 78-86; 127-131; 177-179;247-255; 307-321; 345-357

23 January: Magally Allegre Henderson (Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru) “From the Complicated Terrain of Homosexuality to the Queer History of Latin America”

  • Martín Bowen Silva, "Experimenting with Nature. José Ignacio Eyzaguirre's General Confession and the Knowledge of the Body (1799-1804)", in Zeb Tortorici, ed. Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Colonial Latin America (2016), pp. 95-119.
  • Chad Thomas Black, "Prosecuting Female-Female Sex in Boubon Quito", in Zeb Tortorici, ed. Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Colonial Latin America (2016), 120-140.
  • Magally Alegre Henderson, "'It Is My Husband Who Has Such Weaknesses'. A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Peruvian Divorce Case. In Sean Brady and Mark Seymour, eds. From Sodomy Laws to Same-Sex Marriage: International Perspectives since 1789 (2019), pp. 71-82.

30 January: Gender/Sex and Identity are in the body. How did they get there?

  • Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body, “Dueling Dualisms” and ether “Sexing the Brain” or “The Rodent’s Tale” 
  • Anne Fausto Sterling’s visit to the EUI, 5-6 November 2019 (video)
  • Natalie Wynn, ContraPoints: "Gender Critical" (video)

6 February: Gender/Sex, Bodies and the Environment  

  • Stacey Alaimo & Susan Hekman, ed., Material Feminisms: Elizabeth Grosz, “Darwin and feminism: preliminary investigations for a possible alliance”; Alaimo, “Trans-corporeal feminisms and the ethical space of nature” (e-book)
  • Rachel Stein, ed., New Perspectives on Environmental Justice. Gender, Sexuality, and Activism: Rachel Stein, “Bodily Invasions: Gene Trading and Organ Theft in Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson’s Speculative Fiction” (e-book)


  • Donna Haraway, “Otherworldly conversations, terran topics, local terms;” Alaimo & Hekman, “Emerging models of materiality in feminist theory;”
  • Beth Berila, “Toxic Bodies? ACT UP’s Disruption of the Heteronormative Landscape of the Nation” & Katie Hogan, “Detecting Toxic Environments: Gay Mystery as Environmental Justice” in Alaimo, ed. Material Feminisms

Part II: Agency and Emotions, Law and Politics

13 February: Gender, Sexuality and Politics in early 20th-century Central Europe

  • Anita Kurimay, “Interrogating the Historical Revisionism of the Hungarian Right: The Queer case of Cecile Tormay” in East European Politics and Societies 30 (2016) 10-33.
  • Scott Spector “’The Wrath of the Countess Merviola:’ Tabloid Expose and the Emergence of Homosexual Subjects in Vienna in 1907” in Contemporary Austrian Studies 15, Sexuality in Austria, 31-47 

20 February: Guest lecture: Benno Gammerl (Goldsmiths, UCL) on History of emotions and history of sexuality

  • Benno Gammerl, “Affecting Legal Change. Law and Same Sex Feelings in West Germany Since the 1950s” & Gammerl, “Curtains Up!”
  • Deborah Gould, “On Affect and Protest”

27 February: Gender Sexuality and Politics on the Right and on the Left in 20th-century Europe

  • Felicia Morris “Beautiful Monsters,” Legacy 11/1 (2001) 
  • Chiara Buonfiglioli, “Becoming Citizen: The politics of women’s emancipation in socialist Yugoslavia,” Citizenship in Southeastern Europe, 2012  
  • Laura Lee Downs, 'La piu’ serena italianizzazione?' Social action and nationalist politics in the North-eastern Adriatic borderlands (1919-1954), Acta Histriae 26/4 (December 2018), 1087-1102


  • Dangerous Women Project, Partizanke. Their Dangerous Legacy in the Post-Yugoslav Space (1 April 2016) & 
  • Andreja Dugandzik & Tijana Ocik, The Lost Revolution. AFZ: Women’s Anti-fascist Front, Introduction (Sarajevo, 2018) 

5 March:  No class this week

6 April: Concluding presentations, analysis and dicussion of selected research sources

The two professors, Max Weber Fellow and each researcher will choose a small text or image from her research to present to the rest of the seminar. The researcher will spend about 5-7 minutes demonstrating a gender-based reading/analysis of the source adn then the seminar will discuss it.





Page last updated on 13 July 2020