Faculty of Arts


Sexual Histories: Western Sexualities from Medieval to Modern Times

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for HISTORY 102.


Using examples from the USA and Europe, this course explores the shifting meanings, languages and practices of western sexualities. It is a sustained – and hopefully extremely interesting – exploration of sex as a social, cultural, and historical construct. Topics covered will include origins and development in the ancient world and early Christian ideologies, images of the body, the roles of gender, reproduction and marriage in sexuality, homosexual identities, Victorian ideologies and behaviour, changing discourses of pornography, the modern privileging of sex and the impact of AIDS.

At Stage I we introduce students to some of the basic aspects of the study of history. In "Sexual Histories" you will gain new knowledge about sexualities in western history, but, even more importantly, you will come to view both sexuality and history in unexpected new ways.

You will also be introduced to some of the varying interpretations of historians who have written on the history of sexualities, and to some primary materials to show the kinds of evidence on which historians base their interpretations and explanations.

Availability 2018

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Kim Phillips
Professor Barry Reay

Recommended Reading

KM Phillips and B. Reay (eds), Sexualities in History: A Reader, New York, 2002.

Anna Clark, Desire: A History of European Sexuality, New York, 2008.

Kim M. Phillips and Barry Reay, Sex before Sexuality: A Premodern History, Cambridge, 2011.


Coursework + exam


HISTORY 102: 15.0 points

Contact details | Search | Accessibility | Copyright | Privacy | Disclaimer | 1