This course explores and analyzes the constructions of sexuality in the biological, social and medical sciences, focusing on issues in evolutionary biology, endocrinology, neuroscience, psychiatry, comparative anatomy and genetics. Throughout the semester, students compare the various meanings given to sexuality across disciplinary frameworks, paying attention to the increasingly unstable relationships between the categories of fiction and science, reproduction and sexuality, nature and culture, male and female, animal and human and hetero- and homosexuality. The class also assesses how expert scientific discourses influence popular understandings of sexuality and vice versa. Specifically, students examine how these understandings contribute to the normalization and official regulation of certain kinds of behavior, how they satisfy a desire for stories about human origins, and how they fashion terms of attraction, repulsion, affection, antagonism, dominance and submission according to which sexuality is putatively expressed.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements. Co-requisites: None. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS Elective.