mercredi 26 novembre 2008


Historicizing Sexuality and Gender
Issue Editors: Kevin P. Murphy, Dept. of History, University of Minnesota & Jennifer M. Spear, Dept. of History, Simon Fraser University

In the influential 1984 essay, "Thinking Sex: Notes Toward a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality," Gayle Rubin asserted that "although sex and gender are related, they are not the same thing, and they form the basis of two distinct arenas of social practice." Building on this insight, and challenging the tendency of feminist theory to treat sexuality as derivative of gender, Rubin declared it "essential to separate gender and sexuality analytically to reflect more accurately their separate social existence."

Over the past two decades, historians writing across period and région have, by and large, taken up the call of Rubin and her interlocutors to produce delineated analyses of "sexuality" and "gender." Yet, these efforts have produced anything but a stable or coherent sense of how "sexuality" and "gender" have functioned throughout human history. Indeed, many scholars -- especially those focusing on the pre-modern and non-western worlds -- have productively questioned the conceptualization of and distinction between these categories, demonstrating that sexual desire and practices have intersected with gendered identities and norms in complicated, sometimes inextricable ways. Some scholars have suggested, in particular, that "sexuality" as a category of identity and a technology of governance applies only to the modern West.

This special issue of _Gender & History_ examines the historical relationship between sexuality and gender writ large. We solicit work that explicitly examines the possibilities and limitations of thèse categories for analyzing the past. We especially encourage comparative analysis, scholarship that focuses on the nonwestern world, and work that contributes to the theorization of these categories and their relationship to one another. We welcome the submission of historical work produced within related disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.
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