2019-2020 Catalog

AMST 215 Discipline and Desire: The History of Sexuality in the United States

This course examines the history of the politics of sexuality in the United States since the American Revolution. It begins with theoretical works on the intersections of sexuality and politics, including writings by: Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Daniel Bell, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Michael Warner. It then considers important moments in the history of American sexuality, including: the growth of cities and erotic subcultures after the war for independence, the establishment of "republican discipline" and Victorianism in the early 19th century, blackface minstrelsy and the eroticization of slavery, the confinement of prostitution, the creation of domestic and public spheres, the explosion of working-class sexual entertainment during the industrial revolution, feminism and the social hygiene movement, the invention of homosexuality and emergence of gay and lesbian subcultures, black music and the racialization of sex, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique vs. Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl, Stonewall and Gay Liberation, Roe v. Wade, the feminist "pornography wars," the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and the politics of gay marriage.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity