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The Origin of Sex: A history of the first sexual revolution

LSE public lecture


Nowadays we believe that consenting adults have the freedom to do what they like with their own bodies. We publicise and celebrate sex; we discuss it endlessly; we are obsessed with the sex lives of celebrities. We think it wrong that in other cultures people suffer for their sexual orientation, that women are treated as second-class citizens, or that adulterers are put to death. Yet until quite recently our own society was like this too. For most of western history, all sex outside marriage was illegal, and the church, the state, and ordinary people all devoted huge efforts to suppressing and punishing it. This was a central feature of Christian civilization, one that had steadily grown in importance since the early middle ages.

In his new book which he will discuss in this lecture, Faramerz Dabhoiwala describes in dramatic detail how, between 1600 and 1800, this entire world view was shattered by revolutionary new ideas - that sex is a private matter; that morality cannot be imposed by force; that men are more lustful than women. Henceforth, the private lives of both sexes were to be endlessly broadcast and debated, in a rapidly expanding universe of public media: newspapers, pamphlets, journals, novels, poems, and prints.

The Origins of Sex| shows that the creation of this modern culture of sex was a central part of the Enlightenment, intertwined with the era's major social, political and intellectual trends. It helped create a new model of Western civilization, whose principles of privacy, equality, and freedom of the individual remain distinctive to this day.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala was born in England, grew up in Amsterdam, and was educated at York and Oxford. He is the Senior Fellow in History at Exeter College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the father of two children.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #lsesex


Speaker(s):

Dr Faramerz Dabhoiwala | talks

 

Date and Time:

7 February 2012 at 6:30 pm

Duration:

1 hour 30 minutes

 

Venue:

Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London
WC2A 2AE


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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Tickets:

Free

Available from:

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Event weblisting:
http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2012/02/20120207t1830vHKT.aspx

Additional Information:

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check the listing for this event on the LSE events website on the day of the event.

For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

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