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Inventing Normal Sex: An Un/natural History

Inventing Normal Sex: An Un/natural History

A public lecture by Professor Laura Doan, part of the University of Manchester’s Sexuality Summer School 2017

23 May 2017

23 May 2017, Inventing Normal Sex: An Un/natural History @ People's History Museum. Image by Sadie Lee, Erect, 1991, Lent by the artist

Time 12:30 - 14:00

Duration 1 hours 30 minutes

Cost Free

The habit of categorising people’s sex lives as either ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ is relatively recent.  In the early 20th century the physical expression of conjugal love was not yet linked with a sexual type called the ‘heterosexual.’

As part of the University of Manchester’s Sexuality Summer School 2017 on ‘Why Be Normal?’, this public lecture by Professor Laura Doan will explore how writings on romance, love, marriage, and sexuality helped to shape the public’s understanding of normal sex;  ‘My scrutiny of marriage manuals, correspondence between the public and sexperts, and sex education, among other materials, suggests the great scientific project of normalisation was by no means straightforward.  Essential to the invention of normal sex was – perversely, perhaps – the homosexual.’

Laura Doan is Professor of Cultural History and Sexuality studies at the University of Manchester.  Her research interests include the history and historiography of sex and sexuality, gender studies, queer theory, First World War studies, and memory studies.  She is the author of Disturbing Practices: History, Sexuality and Women’s Experience of Modern War (2013) and Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture (2001).

Part of our Never Going Underground season, a year long programme of exhibitions, events and learning programmes exploring the past, present and future of LGBT+ activism.

Suitable for adults with an interest in the history of sexuality
Heritage Lottery FundedNever Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights

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