The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Turning Points in the History of Sexuality

A Seminar around the Work of Thomas Laqueur

On Friday 10 August 2007, the Centre for the History of European Discourses will host a day long seminar at the University of Queensland. around the work, and in the presence of, Thomas Laqueur.  The Seminar will be held at Customs House, Lady Thiess Room, 9am start on Friday the 10th of August, 2007.
The seminar will ask questions about the role of narrative in the history of sexuality. Laqueur’s most recent book, Solitary Sex, raises issues of this kind in its genealogical thesis, and in the manner of its writing. Laqueur’s story of onanism is a narrative history, with a clear beginning and a story of fundamental change, together with richly textured layers of erudition. Furthermore, there are reflexive elements in his text which serve to stylise the narrative, and perhaps to make it slightly ironic. In the broadest terms, In the broadest terms, it might be said that Laqueur has offered a periodisation which locates the major modern turning point in the cultural history of sexuality in the early eighteenth century, and which relates that process primarily to the history of civil society. In doing so, his approach can be contrasted with certain aspects of Foucault’s account, which tends to locate that turning point in the later nineteenth century, and to place more emphasis on the role of medical and governmental technologies.
This raises two general questions:
  • What do we gain in the history of sexuality by organising our understanding around turning points?
  • What is at stake in the choice between Laqueur’s story and Foucault’s, if indeed it is a choice?

Other participants in the seminar will present papers focussing on these issues. They will include Alexander Cook, Peter Cryle, Stephen Garton, Alison Moore, Elizabeth Stephens, and Charles Sowerwine.

For further information, please contact Peter Cryle at the following address:

Seminar Program

Register for the Seminar Here

Turning Points in the History of Sexuality section

Seminar Program

    Turning Points in the History of Sexuality


  "Sexuality and the Transformation of Culture: the Longue Durée"

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