“Rethinking Sexology – The Cross-Disciplinary Invention of Sexuality: Sexual Science Beyond the Medical, 1890-1940”
This major five-year Wellcome Trust-funded Joint Investigator Award project (2015-2020), led by Professor Kate Fisher (History) and Jana Funke (English) at the University of Exeter, seeks to reconsider the emergence of the scientific study of human sexuality in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century. From the 1890s, medical doctors argued that a properly ‘scientific’ understanding of sexuality required input from various areas of knowledge, including, for example, anthropology, biology, history, literature, psychology, sociology. We explore the emergence of this cross-disciplinary ‘sexual science’, which was driven by dissatisfaction with exclusively medical approaches. In so doing, we aim to provide a new history of sexual science and reconsider of how modern views of sexuality were constructed. We also aim to provide new insights into the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration that will speak to debates within the Medical Humanities more broadly. Finally, our project seeks to draw on historical findings to improve sexual health and wellbeing and to promote gender and sexual diversity today.
One PhD studentship and two three-year postdoctoral fellowships are offered from 1st September 2016. Applicants from all humanities and social science fields, engaging with a wide range of approaches, themes and sources, are welcome.