A History of Sexualities

Subject HIST30004 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week for 12 weeks and eleven 1-hour tutorials scheduled across the semester
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Erin Stapleton



Subject Overview:

How have sexual practices and identities been understood, represented and expressed from the late 19th century to the present? This subject will interrogate these ideas, with particular attention to theories of sexuality from the sexologists and Freud to feminism, queer theory and homonationalism. Categories of classification and identity, such as heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, transgender and transvestism will be examined alongside the history of political activism around sexuality. Through charting a history of sexual practices and ideas about sexual practices, the subject will show how the gendered body and sex have been simultaneously linked to social liberation and control. On completion of this subject, students should understand the ways in which sexuality has multiple histories, and is highly contested.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who have completed this subject will:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the ways in which sexual practices and sexual identities are historically constructed;
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of how scholars have theorised sexuality, in particular the intersections between sexuality, race, class and gender;
  • be able to use bibliographical and research skills to locate and gather primary and secondary sources;
  • be able to reflect critically on the ways in which meanings of sexualities are historically constructed.


A research essay 2000 words, 50% (due mid-semester), a tutorial journal 500 words, 10% (due at end of semester) and a reflective essay 1500 words, 40% (due in examination period).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five days, no late assessment will be accepted. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Gender Studies

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