If sexology—the science of sex—came into being sometime in the nineteenth century, then how did statesmen, scientists, and everyday people make meaning out of sex before that point? In this talk, Greta LaFleur '03 explores how eighteenth-century natural history—the study of organic life in its environment—actually provided the intellectual foundations for the later development of the scientific study of sex.
Greta LaFleur is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Yale University. Her research and teaching focuses on early North American literary and cultural studies, the history of science, the history of race, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer studies. Her first book, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), brings together the history of sexuality and early environmental studies to explore how sexual behaviors were understood in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. She is currently at work on a new book project on the relationship of cultural and legal responses to sexual violence to the history of sexuality. She is also the editor (with Kyla Schuller) of a special issue of American Quarterly, organized around the theme of “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas” (forthcoming Sept. 2019). Her writing has appeared in Early American Literature, Early American Studies, American Quarterly, American Literature, Criticism, The New Inquiry, and on Public Books
This talk is part of Queer Crossings: New Directions and Intersections in LGBTQ+ Studies.
Bryn Mawr College’s LGBTQ+ studies lecture series examines the interwoven histories of sexuality, gender, and race in the United States and the world. These five lectures will consider how a queer or trans lens can reframe the study of science, medicine, politics, social welfare, and migration. This series demonstrates the continued urgency of LGBTQ+ studies to re-orient scholarship across academic fields towards experiences and practices of gender and sexuality that diverge from conventional social norms.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost; Gender and Sexuality Studies; the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research; the Class of 1902 Lecture Fund; Africana Studies; the Center for Social Sciences; English; Environmental Studies; Growth and Structure of Cities; Health Studies; History; Latin American, Iberian, and Latina/o Studies; the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program; the Pensby Center; Sociology; and Spanish.