Sex Radicals in U.S. History

Course Description

Satisfies Social Science General Education Requirement

This course will survey the history of sexual practices and norms from the colonial era to the present. We will be particularly concerned to locate the history of sexuality in changing social, economic and familial structures. The course will be divided into four sections: the initial period of European colonization and settlement, the emergence of a more market and urban oriented social order in the early nineteenth century, the massive expansion of the industrial capitalist system and state intervention at the turn of the century, and the post-industrial, "sexual revolution" of the mid-twentieth century. In each case we will discuss the experience of individuals or social groups who deviated from the sexual norms of the day, "sex radicals," for the ways in which they reveal the workings of the sexual order more generally at the time.