Until the 1970s the history of sexuality was a marginalized practice. Today it is a flourishing field, increasingly integrated into the mainstream and producing innovative insights into the ways in which societies shape and are shaped by sexual values, norms, identities and desires. In this book, Jeffrey Weeks, one of the leading international scholars in the subject, sets out clearly and concisely how sexual history has developed, and its implications for our understanding of the ways we live today.
The emergence of a new wave of feminism and lesbian and gay activism in the 1970s transformed the subject, heavily influenced by new trends in social and cultural history, radical sociological insights and the impact of Michel Foucault’s work. The result was an increasing emphasis on the historical shaping of sexuality, and on the existence of many different sexual meanings and cultures on a global scale. With chapters on, amongst others, lesbian, gay and queer history, feminist sexual history, the mainstreaming of sexual history, and the globalization of sexual history, What is Sexual History? is an indispensable guide to these developments.