WGS.110J | Spring 2016 | Undergraduate

Sexual and Gender Identities

Readings and Films

[F] = Foster, Thomas A., ed. Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America. University of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780226257471. [Preview with Google Books]

[K] = Kerber, Linda K., Jane Sherron De Hart, and Cornelia Hughes Dayton, eds. Women’s America: Refocusing the Past. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780195388329.

[P] = Peiss, Kathy, ed. Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality: Documents and Essays. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. ISBN: 9780395903841.

[R] = Reis, Elizabeth, ed. American Sexual Histories. 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. ISBN: 9781444339291. [Preview with Google Books]

[W] = Ware, Susan, ed. Modern American Women: A Documentary History. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2001. ISBN: 9780072418200.

Unit 1 – Ebbs and Flows: Gender and Sexual Identities as Moving Targets
1 Thinking Historically about Gender, Sex, and Sexuality


[P] Weeks, Jeffrey. Chapter 1: The Social Construction of Sexuality, pp. 2–9.

Cott, Nancy. “What is Gender History?” Speech delivered at the American Historical Association Conference, January 2005.

D’Emilio, John. “Capitalism and Gay Identity.” Chapter 31 in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Edited by Henry Abelove, Michele Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 9780415905190. [Preview with Google Books]

Katz, Jonathan Ned. “The Invention of Heterosexuality.” Chapter 28 in Race, Class, & Gender: An Anthology. 9th edition. Edited by Margaret L. Anderson and Patricia Hill Collins. Cengage Learning, 2015. ISBN: 9781305093614.

Meyerowitz, Joanne. “Introduction.” In How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780674013797. [Preview with Google Books]

Stryker, Susan. “An Introduction to Transgender Terms and Concepts.” Chapter 1 in Transgender History. Seal Press, 2008. ISBN: 9781580052245.

Rubin, Gayle. “Figure 1: The Sex Hierarchy: The Charmed Circle vs the Outer Limits.” Image excerpted from “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” In Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality. Edited by Carol S. Vance. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984. ISBN: 9780710202482.

———. “Figure 2: The Sex Hierarchy: The Struggle Over Where To Draw the Line.” Image excerpted from “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” In Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality. Edited by Carol S. Vance. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984. ISBN: 9780710202482.

2 Before the Modern Era: Race, Reproduction, Love, and Intimacy


[F] “John Lawson on Native American Women, North Carolina (1709).”

[P] Chapter 2: Baron Lahontan Describes Love and Marriage Among the Hurons, 1703, pp. 27–31.

[P] Chapter 5: Harriet Jacobs Relates Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1861.

[R] Chapter 5.1: Letters of Robert Treat Paine, 1749.

[R] Chapter 5.1: Letters of Daniel Webster, 1801–5.

Block, Sharon. “Lines of Color, Sex, and Service: Comparative Sexual Coercion in Early America.” Chapter 7 in Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History. Edited by Martha Hodes. NewYork University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780814735572. [Preview with Google Books]

D’Emilio, John, and Estelle B. Freedman. “The Reproductive Matrix, 1600–1800.” In Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. 3rd edition. University of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780226923802.

Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth-Century America.” Signs 1, no. 1 (1975): 1–29.

Unit 2 – The Tempest: Contesting Sexual Order, C. 1900–1920
3 Sex and the City: Working Class Sexuality and the Politics of Reproduction


[F] Dennett, Mary Ware. “Birth Control Laws: Shall We Keep Them or Abolish Them? (1926).”

[F] Janney, O. Edward. “White Slave Traffic (1911).”

[F] Kneeland, George J. “Commercialized Prostitution in New York City (1913).”

[F] Woods, Robert A., and Albert J. Kennedy. “Young Working Girls (1913).”

[P] Chapter 9: Walter J. Hoffman Describes Childbirth and Abortion Among the Absaroka (Crow) and Dakota Indians, 1888, pp. 309–10.

[P] Chapter 9: Eugene Caves Reports a Death from Illegal Abortion in Rural Wisconsin, 1896, pp. 310–11.

[P] Chapter 9: Margaret Sanger Argues ‘The Case for Birth Control,’ 1917, pp. 311–4.

[P] Chapter 9: The Supreme Court Upholds Forced Sterilization, 1927, pp. 314–6.

[P] Chapter 9: Women Write Margaret Sanger for Birth Control Advice, 1924, 1930, 1935, 1936, pp. 316–8.

[P] Gordon, Linda. Chapter 9: Birth Control and Social Revolution, pp. 320–7.

[P] Ladd-Taylor, Molly. Chapter 9: Eugenics, Sterilization, and Social Welfare, pp. 327–36.

Deutsch, Sarah. “The Moral Geography of the Working Girl (and the New Woman).” Chapter 3 in Women and the City: Gender, Space, and Power in Boston, 1870–1940. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780195158649. [Preview with Google Books]

Peiss, Kathy. “‘Charity Girls’ and City Pleasures: Historical Notes on Working-Class Sexuality, 1880–1920.” Chapter 4 in Passion & Power: Sexuality in History. Edited by Kathy Peiss and Christina Simmons. Temple University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780877226376. [Preview with Google Books]

4 The Birth of Feminism and the Women’s Suffrage Movement


[W] Chapter 1: Frances Willard Equates Learning to Ride a Bicycle with Opening New Frontiers for Women, pp. 15–19.

[W] Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Chapter 4: A Feminist Challenge to the Privatized Home, pp. 108–13.

[W] Luhan, Mabel Dodge. Chapter 4: Greenwich Village Bohemians, pp. 127–30.

[W] Chapter 5: Suffrage Militant Alice Paul Goes to Jail, pp. 150–6.

Cott, Nancy F. “The Birth of Feminism.” In The Grounding of Modern Feminism. Yale University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780300042283.

Stansell, Christine. “Modern Times: Political Revival and Winning the Vote.” Chapter 6 in The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present. Modern Library, 2011. ISBN: 9780812972023.


One Woman, One Vote. Directed by Ruth Pollak. Color and Black and White, 60 min. 1995.

Unit 3 – Locks and Dams: Creating And Policing Boundaries, C. 1920–1960
5 Regulating Sexuality during the Jazz Age, Depression, and War


[K] Harris, Alice Kessler. “Designing Women and Old Fools: Writing Gender into Social Security Law.”

[K] Milkman, Ruth. “Gender at Work: The Sexual Division of Labor During World War II.”

[P] Chapter 10: Black Entertainer Mabel Hampton Recalls Lesbian Life in the 1920s and 1930s, pp. 345–6.

[W] Angelou, Maya. Chapter 7: Harder Times for Black Americans, pp. 218–21.

Canaday, Margot. “Building a Straight State: Sexuality and Social Citizenship Under the 1944 G.I. Bill.” Journal of American History 90, no. 3 (2003): 935–57.

Chauncey, George. “Christian Brotherhood or Sexual Perversion?: Homosexual Identities and the Construction of Sexual Boundaries in the World War One Era.” Journal of Social History 19, no. 2 (1985): 189–211.

Simmons, Christina. “Modern Sexuality and the Myth of Victorian Repression.” Chapter 2 in Gender and American History Since 1890. Edited by Barbara Melosh. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 9780415076760.


Coming Out Under Fire. Directed by Arthur Dong. Black and White, 72 min. 1994.

6 Creating, Containing, and Resisting “Normal” in Cold War America


[F] “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts (1950).”

[P] Chapter 11: Alfred Kinsey Reports on Americans’ Sexual Behavior, 1948–1953, pp. 368–73.

Igo, Sarah E. “Surveying Normal Selves.” Chapter 5 in The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public. Harvard University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780674027428.

Loftin, Craig M. “Unacceptable Mannerisms: Gender Anxieties, Homosexual Activism, and Swish in the United States, 1945–1965.” Journal of Social History 40, no. 3 (2007): 577–96.

May, Elaine Tyler. “Explosive Issues: Sex, Women, and the Bomb.” Chapter 8 in Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War. Edited by Lary May. University of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN: 9780226511764. [Preview with Google Books]

Meyerowitz, Joanne. “Transforming Sex: Christine Jorgensen in the Postwar U.S.” OAH Magazine of History 20, no. 2 (2006): 16–20.

Films (optional)

krfty1. “Christine Jorgensen Arriving at Idlewild airport (1952).” June 25, 2007. YouTube.

Richard RemembersJoePyne. “Christine Jorgensen on Joe Pyne 1966 or 1967.” October 13, 2009. YouTube.

William French. “Christine Jorgensen – Hour Magazine.” July 26, 2010. YouTube.

Unit 4 – The Flood: Breaking Barriers, C. 1960–1980
7 Sexual Revolutions and the Emergence of Second Wave Feminism


[P] Chapter 12: Feminist Anselma Dell’Olio Argues That ‘The Sexual Revolution Wasn’t Our War,’ 1971, pp. 417–9.

[R] Solinger, Rickie. Chapter 15: The Population Bomb and Sexual Revolution.

Bailey, Beth. “Sexual Revolution(s).” Chapter 8 in The Sixties: From Memory to History. Edited by David Farber. University of North Carolina Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780807844625.

Birth Control and Black Children: A Statement by the Black Unity (Peekskill, N.Y.),” and “A Response: By Black Sisters.” Poor Black Women, Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.

Friedan, Betty. “The Problem That Has No Name.” Chapter 1 in The Feminine Mystique. 50th anniversary edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. ISBN: 9780393346787.

Hanisch, Carol. “The Personal is Political: Introduction - January 2006,” carolhanisch.org.

———. “The Personal is Political - February 1969,” carolhanisch.org.

Hayden, Casey, and Mary King. “Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo.” In Takin’ It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader. 4th edition. Edited by Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN: 9780190250706.

New York Radical Women. “No More Miss America! - August 22, 1968,” redstockings.org.


[R] Chapter 15.3: Population Crisis: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Foreign Aid and Expenditures of the Committee on Government Operations, 1965.

The Pill: How it is Affecting U.S. Morals, Family Life.” U.S. News & World Report, July 11, 1966, 1–6.

8 Feminism as a Mass Movement and the Flowering of Gay Liberation


[K] De Hart, Jane Sherron. “Second-Wave Feminists and the Dynamics of Social Change.”

[K] Radicallesbians. “What is a Lesbian?”

[K] Redstockings. “Redstockings Manifesto.”

[W] Boston Women’s Health Collective. Chapter 12: Women and Health, pp. 418–22.

[W] Combahee River Collective. Chapter 10: Black Feminism, pp. 354–64.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. “What is Socialist Feminism?,” cwluherstory.org.

Wittman, Carl. “A Gay Manifesto (1969).” In Come Out Fighting: A Century of Essential Writing on Gay & Lesbian Liberation. Edited by Chris Bull. Nation Books, 2001. ISBN: 9781560253259.


Marcus, Eric. “1968–1973: Liberation.” Part 4 in Making Gay History: The Half Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights. Harper Perennial, 2002. ISBN: 9780060933913.


KQED Arts. “Screaming Queens / KQED Truly CA.” July 21, 2016. YouTube.


Mike Gardner. “Women’s Liberation circa 1970.” May 7, 2009. YouTube.

ronsfo. “Gay Pride Parades, San Francisco, 1970–1980.” November 10, 2011. YouTube.

Unit 5 – Changing Tides: Gender and Sexuality as Battlegrounds, C. 1980–2000
9 Culture Wars I: The Rise of the Religious Right and the AIDS Epidemic


[P] Bayer, Ronald. Chapter 13: AIDS and the Bathhouse Controversy, pp. 471–83.

Bryant, Anita. “When the Homosexuals Burn the Holy Bible in Public…How Can I Stand By Silently?” Chapter 18 in Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right: A Brief History with Documents. Edited by Matthew Avery Sutton. Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2012. ISBN: 9781457611100.

Faludi, Susan. “Backlash.” In Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present. Edited by Miriam Schneir. Vintage, 1994. ISBN: 9780679745082.

Falwell, Jerry. “The Feminist Movement.” In Listen, America! Doubleday, 1980. ISBN: 9780385158978.

———. “Homosexuality.” In Listen, America! Doubleday, 1980. ISBN: 9780385158978.

Kramer, Larry. “1,112 and Counting,” New York Native, no. 59 (1983): 14–27.

Schlafly, Phyllis. “Interview with the Washington Star: January 18, 1976.” Chapter 24 in The Rise of Conservatism in America, 1945–2000: A Brief History with Documents. Edited by Ronald Story and Bruce Laurie. Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2007. ISBN: 9780312450649.


How to Survive a Plague. Directed by David France. Color, 110 min. 2012.

10 Culture Wars II: Pornography, Representation, and Sexual Harassment / Violence


[F] “Star Report (1998).”

[K] Bordo, Susan. “‘Material Girl’: Madonna as Postmodern Heroine.”

[K] Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. “Sexual Harassment on Trial: The Anita Hill / Clarence Thomas Narrative(s).”

[K] Meritor Savings Bank v. Mechelle Vinson et al., 1986.

Duggan, Lisa, Nan D. Hunter, et al. “False Promises: Feminist Anti-Pornography Legislation.” New York Law School Review 38 (1993): 133–63.

Dworkin, Andrea. “Pornography: Men Possessing Women.” In Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present. Edited by Miriam Schneir. Vintage, 1994. ISBN: 9780679745082.

Walker, Rebecca. “Becoming the Third Wave.” Ms., January / February 1992.


Bitch: Feminist Response to Popular Culture 1, no. 2 (Spring 1996).


Lefkovitz, Alison. “‘Sodomy is Not Adultery’: The Clinton Sex Scandal as Queer History.” Notches, April 7, 2016.


The Real Story Behind HBO’s ‘Confirmation’ from the NPR Reporter Who Broke the Story,” April 13, 2016, npr.org.

Unit 6 – Sexuality and Gender in the 21st Century: Diverging Currents?
11 New Trajectories in the Politics of Gender and Sexuality


[F] Fitzmaurice, Susan. “Adventures in Child-Rearing: The Sexual Life of a Child Growing Up with Down Syndrome (2002).”

Canaday, Margot. “LGBT History.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 35, no. 1 (2014): 11–19.

Chauncey, George. “‘What Gay Studies Taught the Court’: The Historians Amicus Brief in Lawrence v. Texas.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 10, no. 3 (2004): 509–38.

Hernandez, Daisy. “Becoming a Black Man.” Colorlines, January 7, 2008.

hooks, bell. “Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In.” The Feminist Wire, October 28, 2013.

Mintz, Steven. “Does History Matter?Inside Higher Ed, July 2, 2013.

Stewart-Winter, Timothy. “The Price of Gay Marriage,” New York Times, June 26, 2015.

Wallace, Kelly. “23% of Women Report Sexual Assault in College, Study Finds,” September 23, 2015, cnn.com.


Correll, Shelley J., Stephen Benard, et al. “Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty?American Journal of Sociology 112, no. 5 (2007): 1297–338.


John Geddes Lawrence and Tyrone Gardner v. State of Texas - Brief for Amici Curiae (PDF).

Spade, Dean, and Craig Willse. “Marriage Will Never Set Us Free.Organizing Upgrade, September 6, 2013.

12 Student-Led Discussion and Closing Thoughts




Chin, Carolyn, and Kamilla Tekiela. “Executive Summary.” (PDF) The Status of Undergraduate Women at MIT, February 2016.

Dwyer, Sheila. “Reporting Harassment at MIT: One Student’s Call for Greater Support.” The Tech 136, no. 9 (2016).



Garza, Alicia, Opal Tometti, et al. “A Herstory of the #BlackLives Matter Movement.” BlackLivesMatter.com.

Khan, Shamus. “Not Born This Way: Other Liberation Movements Have Rejected The Idea That Biology is Destiny. So Why Should Gay Rights Depend On It?Aeon, July 23, 2015.

Meronek, Toshio. “Israel’s’Pro-Gay’ Occupation: An Interview with Dean Spade,” Truthout, May 1, 2015.


Dark Matter. “It Gets Bougie – DarkMatter.” March 26, 2015. YouTube.

Sexuality Beyond Binaries


Bahler, Kristen. “Asexuality: The People’s Choice for People Who Don’t Want ANYONE.” Vice, January 4, 2013.

Canning, Dominque A. “Queering Asexuality: Asexual-Inclusion in Queer Spaces.” (PDF) McNair Scholars Research Journal 8, no. 1 (2015): 55–74.

The Establishment. “Bisexuality Invisibility: The LGBT Community’s Dirty Little Secret,” Huffington Post, February 8, 2016.

Transgender Politics and Platforms


Horowitz, Jules. “How the GOP is Using ‘Bathroom Bills’ to Save the Establishment,” Huffington Post, April 20, 2016.

Jarvis, Craig. “Gov. McCrory Defends NC’s HB2 on ‘Meet the Press’,” Charlotte Observer, April 17, 2016.

Koyama, Emi. “The Transfeminist Manifesto.” In Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century. Edited by Rory Dicker and Alison Peipmeier. Northeastern, 2003. ISBN: 9781555535704. [Preview with Google Books]

———. “Whose Feminism is it Anyway? The Unspoken Racism of the Trans Inclusion Debate.” Chapter 49 in The Transgender Studies Reader. Edited by Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle. Routledge, 2006. ISBN: 9780415947091. [Preview with Google Books]

Electoral Politics


Pollitt, Katha. “There’s a Reason Why Gay Marriage is Winning, and Abortion Rights are Losing: Are These Two ‘Culture Wars’ Issues Really That Similar?The Nation, April 22, 2015.

———. “Why Bernie Didn’t Get My Vote.” The Nation, May 4, 2016.

Rampell, Catherine. “The Sexiest Double Standard Behind Why Millennials Love Bernie Sanders,” Washington Post, February 4, 2016.



Bennett, Jessica. “When A Feminist Pledges a Sorority,” New York Times, April 9, 2016.

Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ and Information Resources, Decker Library, Maryland Institute College of Art.

Gay, Roxane. “The Bad Feminist Manifesto,” The Guardian, August 2, 2014.

Gill, Rosalind. “Postfeminist Media Culture?” Chapter 8 in Gender and the Media. Polity, 2007. ISBN: 9780745619156.

Violence Against Women Initiative Research Database, Harvard University.


MusicPlayOn. “Beyoncé – Lemonade Film (2016).” Bing. April 26, 2016.

Internet Cultures


Hess, Amanda. “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” Pacific Standard, January 6, 2014.

Jason, Zachary. “Game of Fear.” Boston Magazine, May 2015.

Williams, Mary Elizabeth. “A Viral Video Won’t Stop Abuse: If These ‘Mean Tweets’ at Female Sports Writers are ‘Shocking,’ You Haven’t Been Paying Attention.” Salon, April 27, 2016.

Prison and Criminal Justice


Kunzel, Regina. “Lessons in Being Gay.” Chapter 6 in Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality. University of Chicago Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780226462271.

Systems of Inequality: Criminal Justice (PDF), Sylvia Rivera Law Project.



Clairmont, Nicholas. “A Twist in the Fight for Women in the Military.” The Atlantic, May 3, 2016.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2016
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments