Summer 2016 - HIST 454 E100

The History of Sexuality (4)

Class Number: 4753

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 2540, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 13, 2016
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    HCC 1315, Vancouver

  • 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.


Adventures in Kama Sutra Land: the history of sexuality in South Asia

Issues of the body and sexuality in South Asia are often shrouded in silence, or twisted by exaggerated caricatures. This course will trace and interpret the numerous sexual traditions of South Asia from the early days of the British Raj through to the contemporary environment of modern South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan). For many years colonial and national elites have attempted to rewrite complex Indian sexual tradition into something that was just a minor footnote in grander public history, but such efforts have been contested by more recent scholars, artistes and activists in a multiplicity of ways. This course explores the history of a range of sexual questions in colonial and postcolonial South Asia, including those of race and sexual contact, the role of children, working classes and narratives of sexual danger, homosexuality and homophobia, prostitution, popular erotica, medicine, pornography and middle-class sexual consciousness. This course also aims to read the history of sexuality in modern South Asia from a two-pronged perspective: one as a tool of control by colonial and postcolonial elites, and the other, as the intimate reality of everyday life of the people in South Asian society, starting from the 19th century and concluding with select contemporary themes in the 21st century. We will use a range of exciting historical sources, songs, poetry, pulp fiction, oral traditions, manuscript and artistic relics, autobiographies, memoirs, film, music, and official records to unpack and appreciate this controversial world.


  • Class participation: Assessed throughout 20%
  • Source analysis: Due Week 4 15%
  • Reaction paper: Due, as presentation, in Week 11 15%
  • Academic Journal: To be maintained throughout and submitted in Week 12 15%
  • Film review: Due Week 8 15%
  • Research paper: Due Week 10 20%



Anjali R Arondekar, For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies) [Paperback]

Ruth Vanita, Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society [Paperback]

Registrar Notes:

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.

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site contains information on what is meant by academic dishonesty and where you can find resources to help with your studies.  There is also a section on tutoring.