Cool Class clipart
Hand Laying down dice
History of Sexuality
What Class?
History of Sexuality
Who Teaches It?
Professor Erica Delsandro, women’s & gender studies
“This class is important for students who are interested in gender, sexuality, race, politics and power, because it historicizes and denaturalizes concepts such as sex and sexuality, which are made to appear stable, universal, essential and singular. Being able to relearn sex and sexuality through social constructionist and intersectional lenses reveals the way in which social forces — including economics, politics, science and philosophy — shape and shift our understandings of the sexed body, sexual interaction and sexual identity.
“We are all engaged in the process of discovery and knowledge creation. It’s super cool.”
“The class is an eclectic mix of material, which I consider a strength. We read fiction, autobiography, philosophy, history and criticism. We look at images from the past and present. And we do so through an intersectional framework, which means we always consider sex and sexuality in conjunction with gender, race, class and other identity vectors. Each week, students write short responses to the material we read and discuss, and they share their thoughts with the class. The next week, the new responses must incorporate the new readings and include references to students’ analyses from the week before. In this manner, we are producing a shared class text. We are all engaged in the process of discovery and knowledge creation. It’s super cool!

“My goal is for students to leave the class considering sex and sexuality as analogous to Jell-O, a concept introduced by Leonore Tiefer. Sex and sexuality, like Jell-O, have no shape without a container. And the container is a socio-historical one made of meaning and regulation. In other words, sex and sexuality shift and change based on the historical and cultural context. There is no essential definition of what sex is, no essential sexuality that can be discovered once we strip away culture, history and politics. And if we can perceive sex and sexuality in this manner, what other socially expansive perceptions might we begin to cultivate?”
Erica Delsandro