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Until the 1970s the history of sexuality was a marginalised and neglected practice, largely ignored by the historical profession as a whole. Today it is a flourishing and well–populated field, increasingly integrated into the mainstream and producing innovative and exciting insights into the ways in which societies shape and are shaped by sexual values, norms, identities and desires. In this book, Jeffrey Weeks, one of the leading international scholars in the subject, sets out clearly and concisely how sexual history has developed, and what its implications are for our understanding of the ways we live today. The emergence of a new wave of feminism and lesbian and gay activism in the 1970s transformed the subject heavily influenced by new trends in social and cultural history, radical sociological insights and the impact of Michel Foucault s work. The result was an increasing emphasis on the historical shaping of sexuality, and the existence of many different sexual meanings and cultures on a global scale. With chapters, amongst others, on lesbian, gay and queer history, feminist sexual history, community histories, the globalization of sexual history, and the mainstreaming of sexual history, What is Sexual History? will be an indispensable guide to these developments, whilst also demonstrating a recurrent theme linking the history of sexuality to evolving ideas of sexual justice.
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