Rebecca Langlands (University of Exeter) spoke to the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society at the University of California, Berkeley. This paper is the result of interdisciplinary collaboration within the Rethinking Sexology and Sexual Knowledge, Sexual History projects at University of Exeter. Taking as its case study the collaboration between Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds, it argues that this new form of sexual knowledge was itself fundamentally interdisciplinary. Even as a number of European medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists and others began to reconfigure sex as a subject worthy of scientific investigation, this new science did not reject history – as has often been assumed – but embraced it as an important part of the scientific project. Our analysis also shows how the heterosexual/homosexual binary, and the idea that homosexuals are “born this way” – still so influential today – was not an inevitable consequence of their study of sexual behaviour. Rather it represented a deliberate, pragmatic choice from among various available models by early sexologists, who had an eye to using this new form of sexual knowledge to further their own social and political goals.
Our director Dr Jana Funke was invited to talk at the Mediating History’s Materiality, 1700-1900 Workshop at the University of Freiburg, July 2014. She spoke on ‘Desiring the Past: Archaeology, History and the Emergence of Western Sexual Science.’
Dr Jana Funke, who directs our project, was the plenary speaker at the Beyond the Victorian/Modernist Divide Conference at University of Rouen, March 2014. Her paper was “Sexual Science, Modernism and the Politics of Anti-Victorianism.”
Our project directors Professor Kate Fisher and Dr Jana Funke were invited to give the keynote presentation at Towards a Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1950, The Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College , July 2013.
Their paper was titled ‘Let Us Leave the Medical Consulting Room: Let Us Make a Journey Round the World: Sexual Science, Global Histories and Anthropology’.
Our project directors Professor Kate Fisher and Dr Jana Funke were invited to speak at the Sexology and Translation Symposium, Birkbeck University, June 2012, on “Translating the Past: Havelock Ellis as Historian.”
Dr Jana Funke, our project director, spoke at the British Society for Literature and Science Conference, University of Oxford, April 2012, on “‘The Purifying Breath of Spring’: Havelock Ellis, Science and Literariness.”
Our project director Dr Jane Funke and our collaborator professor Rebecca Langlands (University of Exeter) presented at The Reception of Rome and the Construction of Western Homosexual Identities conference, University of Durham, April 2012). Their paper was “Material Passion and Noble Spirit: Sexological Uses of Rome.”
Our project director, Dr Jana Funke spoke at the BSHS Conference, at the University of Exeter, July 2011, on “’We Cannot Be Greek Now’: Age, Class and the Making of Sexual Inversion.”
Dr Jana Funke, who directs our project, spoke at the NeMLA Conference, Rutgers University, Panel on Interdisciplinary Studies and Women Modernists in April 2011 on “Navigating Sexology: Bryher, Havelock Ellis, and the Adventure of Sex.”