Until the 1970s the history of sexuality was a marginalized practice. Today it is a flourishing field, increasingly integrated into the mainstream and producing innovative insights into the ways in which societies shape and are shaped by sexual values, norms, identities and desires. In this book, Jeffrey Weeks, one of the leading international scholars in the subject, sets out clearly and concisely how sexual history has developed, and its implications for our understanding of the ways we live today.
The emergence of a new wave of feminism and lesbian and gay activism in the 1970s transformed the subject, heavily influenced by new trends in social and cultural history, radical sociological insights and the impact of Michel Foucault's work. The result was an increasing emphasis on the historical shaping of sexuality, and on the existence of many different sexual meanings and cultures on a global scale. With chapters on, amongst others, lesbian, gay and queer history, feminist sexual history, the mainstreaming of sexual history, and the globalization of sexual history, What is Sexual History? is an indispensable guide to these developments.
Jeffrey Weeks is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at London South Bank University.
Contents Preface and Acknowledgements An Introduction What is a History of Sexuality a History of? Narratives Summary of Book Chapter 1: Framing Sexual History Towards a Critical Sexual History Theoretical Detours Bodies Subjectivities and Affect Generations Times Present, Times Past, Times Future Chapter 2: The Invention of Sexual History The Magic of Words The Natural History of Sexuality The New History The Emergence of Social Constructionism Chapter 3: Querying and Queering Same-sex History What is Homosexual History? Recovering the Gay and Lesbian Past, and Historic Present Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Homosexual The Queer Challenge Beyond the Binary Making Connections Chapter 4: Gender, Sexuality and Power Dangers and Pleasures Sexual Violence and Sexual History Historicizing Female Sexuality Sexuality and the Theory Wars Rethinking Power Intersections On Manliness, Masculinity, and Men Chapter 5: Mainstreaming Sexual History Into the Mainstream The Birth of Modern Sexuality? The Normalization of Heterosexuality The Great Transition AIDS and the Burdens of History Same-sex Marriage and New Patterns of Intimacy Chapter 6: The Globalization of Sexual History Globalizing Sexual History Historians and Transnational Sexual History Patterns of Sexual History The Colonial Legacy and the Postcolonial Critique Sexual Regimes, Sexual Lives History and Human Sexual Rights Chapter 7: Memory, Community, Voice Unofficial Knowledges and Counter-history Memory and Community The Sexual Archive Voice Living Sexual History Suggestions for Further Reading Notes Index