TERM: 2020-21 Winter
COURSE TITLE: Histories of Gender and Sexuality
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Caroline Lieffers
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines the history of gender and sexuality in Europe and North America, with particular attention to the period from about 1850 to the present. Key themes include the history of gender roles and feminist movements, as well as various Indigenous, legal, scientific, medical, activist, and Christian understandings of gender and sexuality.

Prerequisites: HIST 204
REQUIRED TEXTS: There is no required textbook for the course. Resources will be available via Moodle.
Reading Responses (seven responses at 4% each) 28%
Contemporary News Assignment (1000 words) 16%
Research Paper Proposal 10%
Historical News Assignment (1000 words) 16%
Research Paper (2000-2500 words) 30%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course, students will
  1. Have a deeper knowledge of historical manifestations of gender and sexuality in Europe and North America, as well as various religious, social, cultural, and scientific interpretations of and responses to issues of gender and sexuality;
  2. Be able to form connections between the history of gender and sexuality and issues in the present day, and comment articulately on them;
  3. Deepen their knowledge of Christian perspectives, past and present, on the topic of gender and sexuality;
  4. Develop the skills to research and write a substantial research paper, drawing their own independent and thoughtfully argued conclusions about the history of gender and sexuality.
COURSE OUTLINE: Theme 1: Introduction to Gender and Sexuality
Guiding Questions: What do historians mean when they talk about gender and sexuality? Isgender history different from the history of sexuality? Why are gender and sexuality important in history? Are understandings of gender and sexuality static over time? How might they shape and get shaped by different societies?
  • Wednesday, January 6: Introduction and syllabus
  • Friday, January 8: Background and Concepts
    • Required Reading: Introduction: Gender History
    • Introduction: American Sexual Histories
Theme 2: Gender History, Sexuality, and Intersectionality
Guiding Questions: How did the ideology of separate spheres crystallize in nineteenthcentury Europe and America? Who violated or was seen to violate this ideal, and what does that tell us about the histories of race, rebellion, sex, and power? How might gender and sexuality intersect with class, race, labour, disability, religion, and other key organizing concepts in history?
  • Monday, January 11: Women, Indigeneity, and Settler-Colonialism
    • Required Reading: Anderson, “Gender Equity”
  • Wednesday, January 13: Asian Immigration and Queer Domesticity
    • Required Reading: Shah, “Queer Domesticity”
  • Friday, January 15: Masculinity, Drag Shows, and the Military
    • Required Reading: Serlin, “Cripping Masculinity”
Theme 3: Reproduction and Control
Guiding Questions: How have women and families sought to limit their reproduction over the course of the twentieth century? What roles have the law and Christian organizations played in this discussion? What is the relationship between the history of birth control technology and the history of eugenics? How did men address the issue of birth control?
  • Monday, January 18: Madame Restell
    • Required Reading: Smithsonian on Madame Restell
  • Wednesday, January 20: NO CLASS – IS CONFERENCE
  • Friday, January 22: NO CLASS – COVID BREAK
  • Monday, January 25: Abortion Before Roe
    • Required Reading/Listening: Distillations Podcast
    • (
  • Wednesday, January 27: Roe, Casey, and Morgentaler: Abortion Today
    • Required Reading: Macleans on Morgentaler
  • Friday, January 29: Guest Lecture – Megann Lisckai
    • Required Reading: TBD
  • Monday, February 1: Christian Birth Control?
    • Required Reading: Mehta, “Family Planning is a Christian Duty”
  • Wednesday, February 3: Feminisms and Their Battles
    • Required Reading: The Combahee River Collective
  • Friday, February 5: Masculinity and Reproduction
    • Required Reading: Shropshire, Vasectomy
Theme 4: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Histories of the United States and Canada
Guiding Questions: How did gay and lesbian communities form and endure in Canada and the United States before the sexual revolution? How did the sexual revolution and gay liberation impact the lives of LGBTQ people? What role did churches and religious communities play in the lives and destinies of LGBTQ people?
  • Monday, February 8: Medieval and Early Modern Traditions – CONTEMPORARY
    • Required Reading: NONE
  • Wednesday, February 10: Men’s and Women’s Friendships
    • Required Reading: “Girls Who Fall in Love”
  • Friday, February 12: The Medicalization of Sexuality and Emergence of Identity
    • Required Reading: Chauncey, “Gay New York”
  • Monday, February 22: Early Activism
    • Required Reading: NONE
  • Wednesday, February 24: Kinsey and the Shifting Science of Sexuality
    • Required Reading: Griffith, “Religious Encounters”
  • Friday, February 26: Cold War Anxieties
    • Required Reading: NONE
  • Monday, March 1: Stonewall and Pride: Working with Oral History and Memory
    • Required Reading: Armstrong and Crage, “Movements and Memory”
  • Wednesday, March 3: Stonewall and Pride Continued – RESEARCH PAPER PROPOSAL DUE
  • Friday, March 5: Demedicalization and Decriminalization
    • Required Reading: Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada website (
  • Monday, March 8: AIDS and Patient Zero
    • Required Reading: Tiemeyer, “Flight Attendants”
  • Wednesday, March 10: Faith and the Matter of Marriage
    • Required Reading: Sexuality and the Sacred Chapter
  • Friday, March 12: Asexual Histories
    • Required Reading: Waters, Slate Article
  • Monday, March 15: NO CLASS
Theme 5: Trans and Intersex Histories
Guiding Questions: What were some of the experiences of intersex and trans people in American and European history? How did scientific and social understandings of trans people change over the course of the twentieth century? What can history contribute to our current social conversation around trans rights?
  • Wednesday, March 17: What is “biological sex,” anyway?
    • Required Reading: Sanz, “No Way out of the Binary”
  • Friday, March 19: Intersex History
    • Required Reading: Reis, “Impossible Hermaphrodites”
  • Monday, March 22: Guest Lecture - Shylo Rosborough
    • Required Reading: TBD
  • Wednesday, March 24: Intersex History Continued – HISTORIC NEWS ASSIGNMENT DUE
    • Required Reading: NONE
  • Friday, March 26: Trans Lives and Loves
    • Required Reading: Skidmore, “True Sex”
  • Monday, March 29: Trans Performance
    • Required Reading: Sears, “Electric Brilliancy” OR Article by Channing Joseph
  • Wednesday, March 31: Christine Jorgensen
    • Required Reading: Meyerowitz, “Sex Change and the Popular Press”
  • Friday, April 2: NO CLASS - GOOD FRIDAY
  • Monday, April 5: NO CLASS - EASTER MONDAY
  • Wednesday, April 7: Trans Stories Go Mainstream
    • Required Reading: NONE
Theme 6: The Big Picture
Is the history of gender and sexuality prepared to engage with cross-cultural phenomena? What can knowing the history of gender and sexuality help clarify about our current society?
  • Friday, April 9: Two-Spirit and Third Genders
    • Required Reading: Roscoe, “That is My Road”
  • Monday, April 12: Pornography Past and Present
    • Required Reading: “Blind Readers File Lawsuit”
  • Wednesday, April 14: Queer Theologies
    • Required Reading: Patrick Cheng
  • Friday, April 16: Wrap-Up – FINAL PAPER DUE

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

The King's University
Maintained By Glenn J Keeler