What is the History of Sexuality?

Dr Howard Chiang (Warwick University), Dr Faramerz Dabhoiwala (University of Oxford), Professor Kate Fisher (University of Exeter), Professor Dan Healey (University of Oxford), Dr Garthine Walker (Cardiff University)
7 January 2014
  • Dr Howard Chiang (Warwick University)
  • Dr Faramerz Dabhoiwala (University of Oxford)
  • Professor Kate Fisher (University of Exeter)
  • Professor Dan Healey (University of Oxford)
  • Dr Garthine Walker (Cardiff University)

The founding of the History of Sexuality seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London, marks a recognition that the field has grown enormously during recent years. The new seminar reverses the lacuna in sustained seminar provision in London in this field. While the history of sexuality is a diverse area of study that refuses  straightforward categorisation, it nonetheless focuses broadly on men and women as sexual beings in the past, on the categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality through which sexual selfhood has been experienced, and, moving beyond this binary, on other historical expressions of gender identity and sexual experience. The History of Sexuality seminar at the Institute explores historical perspectives on themes as varied as sexual reform and identity-based movements, sexuality and urban space, medical and criminological discourses on sexuality, and representations of sexuality. It also explores the historiography of the field, along with those varied methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of the sexual past that have shaped the history of sexuality as a sub-discipline. Finally, the seminar provides a forum for an exploration of the intersections between the history of sexuality and other related academic practices - including those of gender, feminism, psychoanalysis, and the study of the emotions.