Sex, History, Power

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Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
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Course Description: 

This course explores the complex relationships between power and sexuality that emerge from, and shape, societies past and present, by examining a diverse range of key social and political controversies over sexuality. From imperial and colonial sexualities, debates about sex work/prostitution and the nature and meaning of marriage to controversies over nation, religion, and sexuality and the terminologies of sexual identity politics, we will read an interdisciplinary mix of philosophical, anthropological, historical, and literary texts in order to trace the profound roots, subtle dynamics, and powerful effects of debate over sex and sexuality.

Learning Outcomes: 

This course will provide students with in-depth knowledge of key contemporary and historical cultural and political contests over differing forms of sexual desires, practices, and meanings. It will also offer them a range of interdisciplinary, theoretical and methodological tools with which to critically unpack and analyze the multiple, intersecting forces from which such moments emerge, and which they set into further motion, and thus to grasp more effectively past and present relationships between power and sexuality, and the ways these have shaped, and continue to shape, our own and other societies. Emphasizing the close reading of texts and intimate engagement with concrete cases, the course will strengthen students’ skills in critical scholarship, and encourage them to improve their analytical, writing, and presentation skills through reading, writing reaction papers, class presentations, and group discussion.