Challenge. Change. Podcast
History Professor Nina Kushner grew up watching her mother, a Rhode Island legislator, lobby for bills supporting gay and reproductive rights. The experience was formative, and helped inspire her to teach a History of Sexuality course at Clark.
Kushner and her students study sexuality from 1750 to the present, analyzing the groups that traditionally have determined which activities are deemed illicit. Cycles of permissiveness and inhibition ebb and flow throughout history, she notes.
“We talk about a sexual revolution in the 1750s. Then there are sexual revolutions in the 1920s and the 1960s,” Kushner says. “Sometimes the history of sexuality is backward. Things actually get stricter. We always assume that we’re getting more and more progressive and we’re not.”
Kushner recommends Notches, an international history of sexuality blog, to anyone interested in learning more.