[PAST EVENT] The Sexuality of History: How Sapphic Subjects Shaped European Thought

October 23, 2015
Ewell Hall, Recital Hall, First Floor
221 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
The period of reform, revolution, and reaction that characterized seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe also witnessed an intensified interest in lesbians. In scientific treatises and orientalist travelogues, in French court gossip and Dutch court records, in passionate verse, in the rising novel, and in cross-dressed flirtations on the English and Spanish stage, poets, playwrights, philosophers, physicians, and pundits were placing relations between women before the public eye.

As harbingers of the modern, representations of lesbians shaped utopian and dystopian visions that concerned far more than sex: sapphic subjects became a flash point for contests about authority and liberty, power and difference, desire and duty, mobility and change, order and governance. In exploring the surprising connections between the sapphic and the state, "The Sexuality of History" shows us that just as we can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can we understand the past by studying sexuality.

Reception to follow lecture.

Dean's Office, [[lahomz, Lu Ann Homza]]