College of LS&A

Fall '01 Graduate Course Guide

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Courses in Institute for the Humanities

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Fall Academic Term, 2001 (September 5 December 21)

Open courses in Institute for the Humanities
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Wolverine Access Subject listing for INSTHUM

Fall Term '01 Time Schedule for Institute for the Humanities.

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INSTHUM 511. Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Section 001 Theories of Sexual Differences: From Perversity to Diversity. (3 credits). Meets with Women's Studies 698.006 and Cultural Anthropology 558.007.

Instructor(s): Gayle S. Rubin

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (1-3).

Credits: (1-3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will examine changes in sexological theories by tracking shifts in concepts of sexual perversion from early sexology in the late nineteenth century through the emergence of social construction paradigms in the mid 1970s. The dominant perspectives in late nineteenth century sexological literature saw most sexual variety (particularly any non-procreative, non-marital, non-heterosexual activity) as perversion, and as forms of diseased desire, although there was considerable disagreement about the causes and sources of such ostensible sexual pathology. These assumptions have continued to shape even many contemporary notions of sexual variation, and to privilege questions of etiology. Nonetheless, even in early sexology, other frameworks for thinking about diverse sexualities are evident. We will trace the increasing salience of non-pathological, socially informed, and diversity based concepts of differences of sexual preference and practice. The course will start with some consideration of the relationships between early sexological taxonomies of perversion and contemporaneous obsessions with racial classification, examining the works of Krafft-Ebing, Ellis, Hirschfeld, Freud, and others from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The readings will then turn to Kinsey, the sociology of "deviance" from the 1960s, and finally, to social histories of sexuality and social construction theories from the 1970s. Readings in this later section will include John Gagnon, William Simon, Jeffrey Weeks, Carole Vance, and Michel Foucault.

Permission of the instructor is required. Upperclassman may also apply for permission to register for this course. Send an email with a statement about your interests and background to Gayle S. Rubin at

Reading: Required reading will include, besides a course pack, the following books:

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

Undergraduate Course Listings for INSTHUM.


This page was created at 9:19 AM on Thu, Oct 11, 2001.

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