Spring 2023 - HIST 454 D100

Problems in the History of Sexuality (4)

Trans&Nonbinary History

Class Number: 4851

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including 9 units of lower-division HIST or 9 units of GSWS. Recommended: HIST 115.



Explores how ideas, practices and identities have changed over time in response to social, political and economic pressures. Emphasis on postmodern approaches to understanding sexuality, and the international historical scholarship it has generated. Chronological and geographical focus of this course may vary. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 454 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


This year Problems in the History of Sexuality focuses on trans and nonbinary history, a still emerging field of exploration. One of the purposes of queer history is to help queer people develop a sense of identity, culture, belonging, and pride. For this reason, ‘doing history’ is a radical act of love and resistance. The practice of love, therefore, will inform our intersectional and colonial-critical exploration of trans and nonbinary history. Students who enroll in this course can look forward to a different approach to studying, one that prioritizes our well-being, and believes that learning is a communal experience based on mutual regard, care, and respect. As Martha P. Johnson said (photo on the left): “we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race… We’re all in this rat race together!”

If you do not have the necessary history prerequisites but would like to take this course, please contact me by email at echenier@sfu.ca. A strong commitment to learning and a willingness to actively participate in building a community of care matters more than your GPA.

Through work undertaken in this seminar, students build on and further develop their: critical reading skills, understanding of queer and other theories, knowledge of diverse methodologies, and research and writing skills. They will also gain experience planning and working collaboratively on an oral and visual presentation.


  • Put In/Take Out [aka Participation] 25%
  • Seminar Co-Facilitation 20%
  • Book Review 20%
  • Primary Source-based Research Essay (18-20 pages plus bibliography) 35%



Available for purchase in the bookstore and on 3-day reserve.  Some may also be abailable online via the library.

Joanne Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed : a History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues: a Novel.  either of the two editions will do

Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minnesota University Press, 2017).

Jennifer Manion, Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge UP, 2020).

Recommended: Mary Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 10th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Macmillan Learning, 2021).


Rachel Cleves, Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (Oxford UP, 2016)

Jennifer Manion, Female Husbands : A Trans History (Cambridge UP, 2020).


Mary Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 10th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Macmillan Learning, 2021).



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html