• Instructor: Louisa Schein

This synchronous online course introduces students to the study of sexuality from historical, cross-cultural, contemporary and global perspectives. We will look at the different meanings given to sexuality and how sexual practices manifest in diverse contexts and consider how they are shaped by culture and media, economy, race and ethnicity, social structure, policy, stigma etc. We ask: what is defined as sex and what is prescribed and prohibited in diverse communities? What is considered normal and what perverse? How is sexuality related to gender, to homoerotics, to trans? What defines a sexual minority? We will look at questions of persecution, discrimination and activism, and at transnational flows and interactions between societies and peoples. In Fall 2020 we will zoom in (literally!) on topics related to our times. We will analyze COVID-19 through the lens of the earlier HIV/AIDS crisis. We will delve into movements for racial justice in relation to sexuality and racial representation as well as sexuality, policing and incarceration. Dynamics of sexuality in China will be considered. Readings, guest lectures and lots of films cover historical, ethnographic, theoretical, sexological, literary and creative approaches to both the U.S. and many other parts of the world.