Sexuality in World History
Routledge – 2009 – 184 pages
Series: Themes in World History
'Expansive and accessible, Peter Stearns' Sexuality in World History offers a much needed introduction to histories of sexuality from a global perspective.' – Mary Spongberg- Head of Department of Modern History, Macquarie University, USA
This book examines sexuality in the past, and explores how it helps explain sexuality in the present. The subject of sexuality is often a controversial one, and exploring it through a world history perspective emphasises the extent to which societies, including our own, are still reacting to historical change through contemporary sexual behaviours, values, and debates.
The study uses a clear chronological structure to focus on major patterns and changes in sexuality – both sexual culture and sexual behaviours – in the main periods of world history, with comparison and discussion across cultures and societies. Topics covered include:
The book is a vital contribution to the study of world history, and is the perfect companion for all students of the history of sexuality.
'It is… impressive that Stearns provides a concise, readable overview of the topic from the beginning of settled agriculture to the 21st century and covers most areas of the world without sacrificing nuance or oversimplifying his subject. This book synthesizes a large body of secondary literature using a fresh, interesting approach…He is careful to emphasize that no single statement about sexuality can truly encompass the full range of human experience, but he offers a thoughtful analysis of the major trends over time. An excellent introduction to a large and growing body of scholarship.' Choice (Outstanding title)
1. Introduction: The Whys and Hows of Sex History Part 1: Preface: Sexuality Before Modern Times 2. Sexuality and the Rise of Agriculture 3. Sexuality in the Classical Period 4. The Impact of Religion on Sexuality, to 1450 5. Sex in an Age of Trade and Colonies Part 2: Preface: Sex in the Modern World, 1750–1950 6. Western Society, 1750–1950: A First Sexual Revolution and the Victorian Response 7. Global Trends and Variations in the Age of Imperialism Part 3: Preface: Sexuality in the Age of Globalization 8. Sex in Contemporary World History
Peter N. Stearns is Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University. He is co- author of Premodern Travel in World History (2008), and author of Gender in World History (2nd edition 2006), Consumerism in World History (2nd edition 2006), Childhood in World History (2005), and Western Civilization in World History (2003), all in this series. His other recent publications include The Global Experience (2005) and World History in Brief (2007).