Sex and the Human Sciences
This course will introduce students to key texts in the history of sexuality, with an emphasis on science studies, critical race theory, and the history of the disciplines. Topics to be addressing include sexology and the circulation of sexual knowledge; the emergence of psychoanalysis and the uses of psychology; transgender lives in and out of the clinic; the built environment and sexual practice; whiteness and the making of normativity. We will read a combination of historical, theoretical, and literary texts, moving from the 19th century through the 21st. The first half of the course, led by Pearl, will trace the tensions between human and nonhuman, will and drive, that arise as the human sciences transform in response to the sexual theories of Charles Darwin, Havelock Ellis, Sigmund Freud, and others. The second half of the course, led by Heather, will address the rise and circulation of sexual knowledge in the 20th century, with a focus on sexual practice and conflicts over expertise, narrative, and power.
Readings may include: Darwin's The Descent of Man, Freud's Three Essays, Willa Cather's "Paul's Case," Sylvia Wynter's, "Towards the Sociogenic Principle," Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native, Frantz Fanon's clinical writings, The Moynihan Report and responses, Harold Garfinkel, “Passing and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status in an ‘Intersexed’ Person” [“Agnes”], Esther Newton’s Mother Camp, Laud Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade, Samuel Delany’ Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, and selected writings by Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, David Marriott, Durba Mitra, Steven Epstein, Kadji Amin, Beans Velocci, and others.