Fall 2018 - HIST 115 D100

History of Sexuality (3)

Class Number: 5045

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 3154, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2018
    3:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



Uses lectures, music, film and images to explore the beliefs and social practices through which sexual identities are created and transformed over time. Introduces some of the main theories and concepts used in the field. Breadth-Humanities.


THIS COURSE traces the emergence of modern sexual identity in the west by exploring how meanings attached to sexuality have been shaped by Christianity, colonialism, medical, and other social, political, and institutional forces. We shall also learn how sexual identity is a modern invention. At the end of the course students will be have a much more critical understanding of sex and sexuality. This year we pay special attention to constructions of race, particularly whiteness and white supremacy.

The material in this course is arranged chronologically, thus students will learn how change over time challenges the notion that sexuality is fixed in nature, driven by biology, and therefore essentially unchanging and unchangeable. We will also explore how sexuality is embedded in ideas about gender, class, and race. Students will be able to apply these analytical concepts in this and other social science and humanities courses.

This course will also teach students how to think like a historian. The way historians organize knowledge is to first identify a historical problem, choose an appropriate conceptual or theoretical framework for analyzing their primary source documents, then arrive at an independent set of conclusions about the meaning and significance of their topic of study. This course achieves this by a) identifying “sexuality” as a topic of historical study, b) introducing ideas put forward by key thinkers c) integrating primary source documents into lectures, tutorial workshops, and assigned readings, d) reading secondary source literature (scholarly history) to examine the conclusions that various historians have come to concerning the history of sexuality.


Students who successfully complete this course will understand:

  • why sex is not ‘natural,’ and appreciate how its meaning changes over time, and is subject to various political, economic, and social forces and be able to demonstrate in their own original research paper the ways in which meanings attached to sex have changed and/or remained the same;
  • why and how social scientists regard sex, gender, and race as interconnected social constructions, and be able to use this mode of analysis in their own original research paper;
  • two key concepts in the history of sexuality: 1. the emergence and importance of sexual identity in twentieth century western culture and the role of moral panics in shaping discourses about sexuality
  • key concepts in history including ‘change over time’, ‘causation’ and ‘complexity’
  • basic principles for writing an effective short essay


  • Short essay #1 - 5 pages 20%
  • Short essay #2 - 8 pages 25%
  • Apply assignments 30%
  • Final essay 25%

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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