History 2069/Cultural Studies 2069
Instructor: Bruce L. Venarde, Associate Professor of History
Office: WWPH 3M26, 624-8437
Office hours: Thursdays, 11-1 and by appointment
This graduate colloquium introduces recent historical work on men, women, the body, and sexuality across the globe and from antiquity to the recent past. As such a description shows, our common reading cannot address all histories, regions, cultures, or topics. But because history and many of its allied disciplines are fundamentally comparative in nature and increasingly concerned with matters of gender and sex, it is worthwhile to consider how contemporary Westerners acting as historians of various times and places treat these subjects, and thereby ask what the range and limitations of "gender" as a category of historical enquiry may be. In short, we'll need to keep asking "How?", "Why?", and "So what?". Another part of our collective agenda will be to consider how gender studies are situated within debates among historians. To what extent does or should gender history draw on the "mode of production" (Marxist) and "mode of information" (postmodernist) approaches to the past? How is "gender" like "class" or "race," and how does it intersect and interact with those categories and their construction? Is there a history of sexuality?

Please bear in mind that this is a history course, taught by a history professor. An historical perspective, as he understands it, is the attempt to contextualize description of the past. W e will be constantly concerned, even in our late-semester foray into contemporary history and sociology, with questions of origins, traditions, environment, and change over time. Those who feel unequal to the task of historical imagination, the attempt to put oneself into other people's worlds to comprehend them and their society, are forewarned that it could be a long semester. We will necessarily and naturally consider contemporary parallels and experiences in thinking about the past. But thinking about the past and how to understand it better is our mission. (It's also the only thing the professor knows how to do.)

Our tasks are to read, talk, and compare observations in oral and written form. The attached handout, "Reading Historians," suggests techniques for analytical reading of historical literature that may be useful as you prepare for the weekly discussions. To counter the centripetal tendencies of the syllabus, each participant will undertake a bibliographic survey on a specific subject of particular interest and present findings on recent scholarship in the form of a final paper. Although each of us will inevitably come away from the course with rather different ideas and conclusions about the nature and value of gender as a historical subject and a category of analysis, we will have all participated in a common project of reading and discussion of what are meant to be provocative approaches to understanding gender in its various historical contexts and relations.

  • Mastery of weekly readings and readiness to discuss and engage one another about them in our seminar discussions.
  • Five short (one- or two-page) papers on some aspect of the week's reading, to be submitted by noon Monday, the day before our meetings. You should write two of these in January and complete the set by the beginning of April.
  • Supplementary presentation and review essay. Each of you will, once during the term, give a ten-minute summary of a book other than the common reading for the week to further discussion of the larger subject at hand. You will also submit no later than two weeks after this oral presentation a review-essay of 6 to 8 pages comparing and contrasting the two books, to be distributed to all members of the colloquium.
  • Final comparative essay of 10-15 pages. Here you will review and compare the approach, methods, and conclusions of several recent book-length studies on whatever topic within gender studies is of most interest to you. Consult with the instructor about the books you will consider, preferably by early April. Firm due date: Monday, April 22nd.
(Starred titles are available in the Book Center and on reserve in Hillman Library. Copies of articles for will be provided for you to xerox.)
I. Introductions: Theory and Practice
January 15th
*Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835 , 2nd edition (1997)
Joan Scott, "Gender: A Category of Historical Analysis" in Gender and the Politics of History (1988)

January 22nd
*Thomas Laquer, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990)
Sherry B. Ortner, "Making Gender," "Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?" and "So, Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture" in Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture (1996), pp. 1-42, 173-180

January 29th
*George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (1994)
Annamarie Jagose, Queer Theory: An Introduction (1996), pp. 1-22, 72-100, 127-132
Report: Bernadette Brooten, Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (1996)

II. Europe: Sex and Politics
February 5th
Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (1996)
Reports: Eve Levin, Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 (1995)
John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality : Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (1981)

February 12th
*George L. Mosse, The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity (1996)
Reports: Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-si¶cle Culture (1986)
George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe (1985)

III. Asia: Private Lives?
February 19th
*Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China (1994)
Reports: Dorothy Ko, Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet (2001)
Susan Mann, Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century (1997)

February 26th
*Gary Leupp, Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokagawa Japan (1995)
Report: Gregory M. Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950 (1999)
IV. The United States, 1865-1918: Race, Religion, and Gender
March 12th
*Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States (1995)
Clifford Putney, Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920 (2001)
Kim Townsend, Manhood at Harvard: William James and Others (1996)

March 19th
G.E. Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (1996)
Reports: Ruth Alexander, The 'Girl Problem': Female Sexual Delinquency in New York, 1900-1930 (1995)
Tera Hunter, To 'Joy My Freedom': Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War (1997)

V. Latin America: Knowledge and Secrecy
March 26th
*Steve Stern, The Secret History of Gender: Women, Men and Power in Late Colonial Mexico (1995)
Reports: Ramón A. Gutiérrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away : Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846 (1991)
Irene Silverblatt, Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender, Ideology, and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987)

April 2nd
Matthew Guttman, The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City (1996)
Report: Roger Lancaster, Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua (1992)
VI. Global Perspectives: Out of Africa?
April 9th
Rudy Bleys, The Geography of Perversion: Male-to-Male Sexual Behaviour Outside the West and the Ethnographic Imagination, 1750-1918 (1995)

April 16th
*Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination (1998/2001)