“Sexuality needs to be written into the structure of our understanding of the past. It’s not simply an add-on”.

How was our understanding of sexuality in history transformed by the liberation movements of the late twentieth century and by the challenge of the AIDS epidemic? How have historians of sexuality navigated the personal and the political in charting their explorations of the past? The pioneering gay historian Jeffrey Weeks, whose 1976 article “Sins and Diseases” opens the History Workshop Journal Virtual Special Issue on History of Sexualities, explores those questions in the latest episode of the History Workshop podcast.

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Gay Liberation Front demonstration in Trafalgar Square, c 1972. LSE Archives @ Flickr Commons

 

Photo by Mark McNestry

Jeffrey Weeks is a historian, activist, and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at London South Bank University. He was an editor of History Workshop Journal for many years. His work has largely focused on the history and social organisation of sexuality and intimate life, and he is the author of some twenty-five books and over 120 articles, essays and papers. His monograph What is Sexual History? was published by Polity in 2016. In 2017 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the World Congress of Sexology for outstanding contributions to the understanding of sexuality.

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