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Courses / Modules / HIST3246 A Short History of the Homosexual

A Short History of the Homosexual

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Julie Gammon
Academic year

Module overview

Is sex a biologically-conditioned experience that remains constant over place and time, or is sex and sexuality an ever-changing lived reality that reflects (and shapes) broader shifts within society and culture? This overarching question, fiercely debated by historians since the 1970s, is at the heart of this module which examines the turbulent history of same-sex relations of women and men. The module takes the moment of the 'invention' of homosexuality (and heterosexuality) in the late nineteenth century and considers the historical context of this moment and the significance of its impact on gay men and women through to the present. You will survey case-studies ranging from the Ancient World through to the contemporary, drawing together Biblical and artistic sources, criminal records, diaries, and published reports amongst others to compare understandings of same-sex relations in different eras and cultural contexts. This is a chronologically and culturally wide-ranging module, which challenges you to make critical judgements about the value of constructions such as ‘homosexuality' and ‘homophobia', and their place in historical discourse. Since the 1960s, the status of gay people and same-sex sexual relationships has proved one of the most controversial social issues in western society; this module takes a long view of the subject, evaluating along the way the significance of sex as marking the place of individuals within societies.