Lecture: 'Sexology's Afterlives'
April 23, 2018
A talk by Laura Doan, University of Manchester
A major achievement of transnational sexology studies is its attentiveness to the epistemological consequences of movement. To build on this work, this paper scrutinizes recent scholarly debates about what counts as sexological to rethink our historiographical methods in accounting for the public dissemination of sexology, a complex cultural process often characterized simply as popularization. Drawing on the critique of popularization forged by historians and sociologists of science, I suggest that formulations such as “literary sexology” or “vernacular sexology” might be better understood as pioneering models of public dissemination rather than as forms of sexological knowledge.
Laura Doan is Professor of Cultural History and Sexuality studies at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Disturbing Practices: History, Sexuality and Women's Experience of Modern War (Chicago, 2013) and Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture (Columbia, 2001). Her current research project (Heterosexuality: An Unnatural History) explores how the idea of the normal became the most powerful ideological force of the modern age.