History seminars at the IHR

History of Sexuality Seminar

Convenors: Anna Schaffner (University of Kent), Chiara Beccalossi (Oxford Brookes), Alison Oram (Leeds Metropolitan University), Craig Griffiths (Queen Mary), Christopher M. Waters (Williams University), Heike Bauer (Birkbeck), Jana Funke (University of Exeter), Julia Laite (Birkbeck), Jane Mackelworth (Queen Mary), Justin Bengry (Birkbeck/McGill), Claire Hayward (Kingston University), Matt Cook (Birkbeck), Sean Brady (Birkbeck), Sarah Toulalan (University of Exeter)

Venue: From Autumn 2014, Holden Room, 103, first floor of Senate House

Time: Tuesdays 18:00

The seminar series is convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre. All seminars are open to all and there is no need to register in advance. If you have any questions about the seminar please contact Craig Griffiths at: c.griffiths@qmul.ac.uk

Some podcasts from this seminar are available online

Autumn Term 2014
DateSeminar details
7 October The episcopal body and sexuality in late medieval England

Dr Katherine Harvey (Birkbeck College, University of London)

(Chair: Jane Mackelworth, PhD candidate, Queen Mary, University of London)

This paper examines the significance of episcopal sexuality in medieval England, with a particular focus on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries- that is, the first two centuries after the Gregorian reform movement made celibacy an obligation for all priests, and a period which has been described as a golden age of episcopal sanctity in Western Europe. This new emphasis on clerical celibacy meant that the sexual behaviour of would-be saint bishops was intensely scrutinised; such men needed to be unquestionably celibate, and preferably virginal, if they were to stand any chance of being formally canonised. In this talk, I will approach episcopal sexuality through the prism of contemporary ideas about medicine and the body, in order to shed new light on the lived experience of clerical celibacy from the perspective of a group of men who were particularly devoted to this troublesome ideal. Questions to be addressed include: How was long-term celibacy thought to affect the health of religious men? How could medical knowledge help clerics to achieve bodily purity? How did sexuality relate to the ascetic lifestyle, and how did hagiographers use this relationship to suggest that their subjects were truly celibate? And how could such ideas be subverted, in order to suggest that a less-than-saintly bishop was falling far short of the standards expected of him? 

28 October Echoes and nods: recognition, genealogy and writing the queer archive

Dr Natasha Alden (University of Aberystwyth)


'What went on between Brock and Bob?'  Robert Oboussier, Werner Brock, and the evolution of gay identities in the Twentieth Century
Dr Lars Fischer (University College London)

(Claire Hayward, PhD candidate, Kingston University London)

18 November Attitudes to ejaculation in early modern England

Dr Tim Reinke-Williams (University of Northampton)

(Chair:  Jane Mackelworth, PhD candidate, Queen Mary, University of London)

This seminar will be co-hosted with the Life-Cycles Seminar series

9 December Reproductive Health, the Ford Foundation, and the Chinese Sexual Revolution

Dr Leon Antonio Rocha (University of Liverpool)

(Chair:  Claire Hayward, PhD candidate, Kingston University London)