Sexuality, Social Practices, and Modernity

Sociological research and analysis makes visible the social construction of the identities, ideas, emotions, and practices surrounding sexualities.  It de-naturalizes essentialist assumptions about sexuality by locating the constitution of sexualities within their appropriate social and historical context.

This offering of Sexuality, Social Practices, and Modernity will focus on the period understood by some scholars as late modernity and by others as post-modernity; in other words, the contemporary period.  Together we will address a selection of contemporary social practices that reveal both continuity and change in sex-related discourses and practices.  These discourses and practices are controversial and subject to contestation.  However, whatever our deeply held beliefs and politics, we must avoid relying on ideological claims or ‘truth claims’ at the expense of a sociological inquiry that explores the very constitution of knowledge, desire, and action. The analytic approach of this course is derived from Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume One.  Prior knowledge of this foundational text is recommended.