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Sexual Subjects

What does it mean to study sex and sexuality within humanities and social science traditions in Western and non-Western contexts? What constitutes knowledge or evidence in this field? What kinds of categories and arguments simultaneously produce and challenge conventional wisdom about sex? How have fields and movements like area studies, history, feminism, psychoanalysis, biology, critical race studies, anthropology, sociology, and cinema fostered a multi-disciplinary scholarly tradition that today we call “sexuality studies” in the US as well as other non-Western cultures? What “natural,” “obvious,” or “timeless” ideas about sex or sexuality turn out to be none of those things? This lecture course will address these and other questions, by introducing major ideas in the study of sexuality over time, from a variety of disciplines; by helping students to think critically about the standpoints, methods, omissions, and possible uses of each study; and, last but not least, by fostering writing and conversation about these complicated topics.