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HIST424: Sexuality, Culture, and the Law: Home

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024 12:01 PM

From the Syllabus

This course will examine sexuality in American history.  We will pursue two interrelated themes.  First, we will focus on how changes in the broader culture—such as new technology, the Cold War, consumer society, new medical knowledge—influenced sexual beliefs and practices, and conversely, how sexuality influenced these broader cultural developments.  Second, the course will examine how broad developments in sexuality relate to the law, in letter and practice.  How has the legal system attempted to regulate sexuality, while at the same time charting out the emerging notion of “sexual rights”—laws protecting the right to life, the right to choice, or gay rights, for example?  Over the semester, we will examine both primary and secondary readings on topics like rape, eugenic sterilization, controversies over abortion, and the development of the pill.  We will analyze the relationship between daily life and government regulation of sexuality through law, politics, and policing.

Primary Sources

In the study of history, primary sources are documents, photographs, recordings, and artifacts created by contemporary historical actors or witnesses to historical events. Primary sources necessarily form the foundation of historical research. In the resources below you can find rich and multidimensional collections of primary sources from every era and reflecting every facet of American history.

Primary Sources: Newspapers & Magazines

Primary & Secondary Sources: Top Focused Databases

These resources offer rich mixtures of primary and secondary sources focused on the central topics of this course: gender, sexuality, and the law in American history.


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Michael Kicey
424 Lockwood

Secondary Sources: Top General History Databases

In these resources you can find abstracts, citations, or the full text of articles published in scholarly and popular journals on topics in history.

Secondary Sources: Topical Overviews

These resources offer compact, authoritative discussions of focused topics, individuals, or research areas in history, as well as bibliographies to begin your research.

Oxford Bibliographies of Interest

Oxford Bibliographies offers authoritative research guidance through highly specific annotated bibliographic guides. The bibliographies identify the best work available on a topic, whether it is in the form of a chapter, a book, an article, a website, an archive, or a dataset.