History | British Sexual Histories
B386 | 30957 | J. Allen

Topic: British Sexual Histories: From Regency Scandals to Sexual
Above class carries culture studies credit
A portion reserved for majors; meets with GNDR-G 302
Open to undergraduates and Education MA's only

This course examines changing British sexual cultures and erotic
lives – from the early nineteenth century until the “Sexual
Revolution” of the 1960s and early 1970s – through a series of
controversial episodes.  One course objective is to consider whether
British patterns in modern histories of sexualities were
distinctive, compared with those found in the United States or other
western countries across the same two centuries, for instance, in
prevalent understandings of  mid-nineteenth century “Victorianism”
or of 1960s sexual libertarianism.  Placing key sexual histories
episodes in their contemporary context is another key course
objective.  Primary & secondary sources anchor discussions of:
•	 the Queen Caroline Affair (1820)
•	 Victorian era London “low life”
•	state regulation of prostitution and its enemies (1866-1886)
•	Imperial sexual cultures & colonial sexual patterns/conflicts
•	the 1888/9“Jack the Ripper” sex slayings
•	the 1895 Oscar Wilde scandal
•	the 1908 Incest Act
•	Marie Stopes’s sexological best-sellers, Married Love (1918)
and Enduring Passion (1928)
•	banned in 1928 – D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover  &
Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness
•	the 1938 Rex vs. Bourne abortion ruling
•	Mass Observation’s 1944-49 studies of working class
•	postwar “angry young men” cinema & the advent of James Bond
•	executions of Edith Thompson (1923), John Christie (1953) &
Ruth Ellis (1955) for partner murder
•	the1954-57 Wolfenden enquiry into homosexual offenses and
•	the 1963 Profumo Affair
•	the Beatles & “Beatlemania”
•	1960s censorship, abortion, homosexuality, & divorce law

A final course objective is to evaluate interpretations of these
historical moments and patterns

The course documents, readings, films, novels, music, images, and
other materials are accessed on Oncourse.


Weekly notes on readings [upload on Oncourse], weekly attendance&
effective participation	20%
Class paper	20%
Mid-Term [take-home] exam 20%
Research essay [on topic of interest]	20%
Final [take-home exam]	20%