History | British Sexual Histories: From Regency Scandals to Sexual Revolution
B300 | 27798 | Allen

Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only

This course examines dramatic historical transformations in British
sexual cultures and erotic lives – and historians differing
interpretations of them – from the early nineteenth century until
the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960s and early 1970s, through a
series of controversial episodes or developments.  Lectures,
discussions, and written work may address: the Queen Caroline Affair
(1820), the sexual and reproductive portraits of Britain created by
nineteenth century censuses, London “low life,” “Victorianism,”
state regulation of prostitution and its enemies, the birth control
trial of Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant (1874), conflicts over
sexuality in British colonies, the 1888/9“Jack the Ripper” slayings,
the 1895 Oscar Wilde scandal, Marie Stopes’s sexological best-
sellers, "Married Love" (1918), the banning of D.H. Lawrence’s "Lady
Chatterley’s Lover" (1928); early twentieth century enquiries into
Britain’s population, birthrate, abortion, divorce, prostitution, &
pornography, sexual mores and customs, the advent of James Bond, the
1963 Profumo Affair, the Beatles & “Beatlemania,” and the raft of
liberalization measures of the 1960s affecting censorship, abortion,
homosexuality, & divorce.  What were the political, economic,
social, and cultural contexts for the two centuries of these changes
in British sexualities?

The course will have a choice of three textbooks from which students
may choose according to interest,  as well as extensive E-Reserve
and Oncourse resources on which to draw.  We will make significant
use as well of relevant novels, plays, films, and other electronic


Weekly notes on readings, attendance, participation	25%
Class paper	1,000 words				20%
Mid-Term exam						20%
Research essay [on topic of interest]			25%
Final [take-home exam]					10%