Not currently offered
Course code



20 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces students to the history of sexuality and constructions of sexuality across a range of nations, periods and geographical regions in the Western world. It provides a chronological and thematic survey of the field including a consideration of homosexuality, heterosexuality and queer, and the multiple ways in which the private and public worlds are interconnected through sex. The course is informed by a wide range of historical resources including non-elite source types such as film and documentary, memoir, tabloid newspapers and sex education literature.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2021.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain why sexuality is an important category of historical analysis;

2. Compare and contrast moments of sexual crisis within specific historical timeframes and how these historical moments relate to the present;

3. Evaluate information, ideas and arguments including those of diverse cultural assumptions;

4. Demonstrate advanced research, writing, information literacy and oral communication skills relevant to history.


The course examines a range of topics in European, Australian and North American history from the ancient world to the present. A recurrent theme that will be explored is concepts of "normal" sexuality, and what was considered perverse, deviant and dangerous across time and place. Key moments of sexual crisis and scandal that challenged these concepts of "normality" provide the framework for the course. Topics include ancient sexualities, the construction of women as witches, sex and venereal disease, sex education, sex, politics and espionage and HIV/AIDS.


This course replaces HIST3580. If you have successfully completed HIST3580 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

20 units in History at 1000 level, or 10 units in History and 10 units in English, Gender Studies or Film, Media and Cultural Studies.

Assessment items

Essay: Research Essay (35%)

Proposal / Plan: Essay plan (15%)

Written Assignment: Text analysis (20%)

In Term Test: Examination (20%)

Participation: Tutorial participation and contribution to class discussion and debate (10%)

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.