The History of Sexuality in the United States

C O U R S E   D E S C R I P T I O N

This course is an exploration of the ways in which sex and sexuality have been thought about, discussed, and practiced in the United States from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. Special attention is given to the intersections of sex and sexuality with race, gender, the law, politics, and popular culture in the U.S. In addition, we will spend a significant amount of time in class focusing on the development of skills used by historians in assigning historical significance, identifying instances of continuity and change, and in approaching the study of the past with historical empathy. The course is structured both chronologically and thematically: That is to say, while we move from the distant past to the present in the content of this course, we will focus on historical themes that tend to fit less neatly in a standard chronology. Student learning is assessed through in-class and online assignments, a short research paper (midterm), and a group podcast project (final).


Selected Class Materials