Gender and Sexuality

Departmental Seminar

Organised by Prof. Benno Gammerl and Prof. Pieter M. Judson 
Registration code: HEC-DS-GENSEX-20

Fridays 4,11 December (9:00‐10:50)
Tuesdays (17:10‐19:00) 
Sala degli Stemmi

Admin. Assistant: Francesca Parenti

Seminar description

When and where have you last seen a condom machine? Histories of gender, of sexuality and of queerness are crucial, fascinating, and multifaceted. In ten sessions across both the autumn and spring terms, we will introduce and investigate a range of approaches to these fields. Our discussions will highlight interdisciplinary and intersectional perspectives. Based on selected seminar readings we will discuss: persecution and emancipation, the feminist sex wars, rural homosexualities, reproduction in an age of technology, questions of affect and materiality; toxic masculinity; sex tourism, queer consumer cultures and homonationalism, trans* histories, and queer temporalities. Along the way we examine visual and textual primary and secondary sources as we encounter figures like Philip Prince Eulenburg, Colonel Barker, and Valerie Solanas. Narrating histories of gender, sexuality and queerness appropriately is a challenging task. One needs to come to terms with varied identifications, with what appear to be minute differences, with stark injustices and above all, with complex dynamics.

The first two sessions will take place online, on Friday 4 and on Friday 11 December 2020 from 9.00 to 10.50 am (Florence time). They will focus on conceptual questions about the history of gender and of sexuality respectively.

Starting in January we will then meet on Tuesdays from 17.10 to 19.00 pm to discuss more specific topics. The first session in the new year will take place on Tuesday, 12 January 2021. Then we will meet each Tuesday until 2 March 2021 (the date of our last session in which we will look at a variety of sources that researchers use to write histories of gender and sexuality.)


4 December 2020 (on Zoom): History of gender

  • Scott, Joan. “Gender. A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (1986): 1053-75.
  • Stryker, Susan. “Transgender History, Homonormativity, and Disciplinarity.” Radical History Review 100 (2008): 144-57.
  • Hall, Catherine. “Gendering Property, Racing Capital.” History Workshop Journal 78 (2014): 22-38.

11 December 2020 (on Zoom): History of sexuality

  • Rubin, Gayle. “Thinking Sex. Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” In Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012): 137-81.
  • Sedgwick, Eve K. “Introduction: Axiomatic.” In Epistemology of the Closet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990): 1-63
  • Weeks, Jeffrey. “Making the Human Gesture: History, Sexuality and Social Justice.” History Workshop Journal 70 (2010): 1-20

12 January 2021: Law, discrimination and persecution

  • Marhoefer, Laurie. “Lesbianism, Transvestitism, and the Nazi State. A Microhistory of a Gestapo Investigation, 1939-1943.” American Historical Review 121, no. 4 (2016): 1167-95.
  • Alexander, Rustam. “Soviet Legal and Criminological Debates on the Decriminalization of Homosexuality (1965–75).” Slavic Review 77, no. 1 (2018): 30-52.
  • McCormick, Leanne. “’No Sense of Wrongdoing’: Abortion in Belfast 1917–1967.” Journal of Social History 49, no. 1 (2015): 125-48.

19 January 2021: Media, scandals and societal attitudes

  • Spector, Scott. “’The Wrath of the Countess Merviola:’ Tabloid Expose and the Emergence of Homosexual Subjects in Vienna in 1907.” In: Sexuality in Austria, 31-47.
  • Kurimay, Anita. “’Peepholes’ and ‘Sprouts’. A Lesbian scandal.” In Queer Budapest (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2020), 119-152.

26 January 2021: Imperialism, colonialism, racism

  • Moore, Laura. “’The fighting had ceased but… democracy had not won’: Helen Noble Curtis and the Rise of a Black International Feminism in World War I France.” Journal of Women's History 30, no. 4 (2018): 109-33.
  • Shepard, Todd. “’Something Notably Erotic’: Politics, ‘Arab Men,’ and Sexual Revolution in Post-decolonization France, 1962–1974.” Journal of Modern History 84 (2012): 80-115.
  • Wieringa, Saskia Eleonora. “Postcolonial Amnesia. Sexual Moral Panics, Memory, and Imperial Power.” In Moral Panics, Sex Panics. Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (New York: New York University Press, 2009): 205-33.

2 February 2021:Space

  • Flather, Amanda J. “Space, Place, and Gender: The Sexual and Spatial Division of Labor in the Early Modern Household.” History and Theory 52 (2013): 344-60.
  • Cook, Matt. “‘Gay Times’: Identity, Locality, Memory, and the Brixton Squats in 1970’s London.” Twentieth Century British History 24, no. 1 (2013): 84-109.
  • Puar, Jasbir. “Circuits of Queer Mobility: Tourism, Travel, and Globalization.” GLQ 8, no. 1-2 (2002): 101-37.  

9 February 2021: New materialist and affect theoretical approaches

  • Haraway, Donna. “Otherworldly conversations; terran topics; local terms. “ Science as Culture 3, no. 1 (1992): 64-98.
  • Gould, Deborah B. “On Affect and Protest.” In: Political Emotions. New Agendas in Communication, edited by Janet Staiger, Ann Cvetkovich und Ann Reynolds (London: Routledge, 2010): 18-44.
  • Nay, Yv E. “‘Happy as in Queer’: The Affective Paradoxes of Queer Families.” Sociologus. Journal for Social Anthropology 65, no. 2 (2015): 1-20.

16 February 2021: Economy and capitalism

  • Duffy, Mignon. “Doing the Dirty Work. Gender, Race, and Reproductive Labor in Historical Perspective.” Gender & Society 21, no. 3 (2007): 313-36.
  • Bengry, Justin. “Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935-39.” History Workshop Journal 68, no. 1 (2009): 122-48.
  • Tinsman, Heidi. “Politics of Gender and Consumption in Authoritarian Chile, 1973-1990: Women Agricultural Workers in the Fruit-Export Industry.” Latin American Research Review 41, no. 3 (2006): 7-31.

23 February 2021: Memory and queer temporalities

  • Dempsey, Anna M. “Jill Soloway’s ‘Transparent’: Transgender Memory and a Tale of Two Cities.” Gender & History 30, no.3 (2018): 803-19.
  • Plaster, Joseph. “Safe for Whom? And Whose Families? Narrative, Urban Neoliberalism, and Queer Oral History on San Francisco's Polk Street.” Public Historian 42, no. 3 (2020): 86-113.
  • Dinshaw, Carolyn; Lee Edelman; Roderick A. Ferguson; Carla Freccero; Elizabeth Freeman; Jack [Judith] Halberstam; Annamarie Jagose; Christopher Nealon; Nguyen Tan Hoang. “Theorizing Queer Temporalities. A Roundtable Discussion.” GLQ 13, no. 2 (2007): 177-195.

2 March 2021: Primary sources for writing histories of gender and sexuality

In this session we will look at a variety of sources that researchers bring along and that they use or may want to use to write histories of gender and sexuality.




Page last updated on 19 February 2021

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