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Rainbow Lecture 2019: Toward an Environmental Theory of Early Sexuality

Greta LaFleur will visit the University to deliver the 8th annual Rainbow Lecture.

If sexology—the science of sex—came into being sometime in the nineteenth century, then how did statesmen, scientists, and everyday people make meaning out of sex before that point? In this talk, Greta LaFleur explores how eighteenth-century natural history—the study of organic life in its environment—actually provided the intellectual foundations for the later development of the scientific study of sex. 

LaFleur is Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of the Graduate Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Her research and teaching focuses on early North American literary and cultural studies, the history of science, the history of race, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer studies. Her first book, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), brings together the history of sexuality and early environmental studies to explore how sexual behaviors were understood in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. She is currently at work on a new book project on the relationship of cultural and legal responses to sexual violence to the history of sexuality.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Rush Rhees Library, Welles-Brown Room
755 Library Road, Rochester, NY 14626

Event Type

Lectures and Talks


General Public, Faculty, Students, Alumni, Health Care Professionals


diversity, humanities



Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Contact Phone or Email

(585) 275-6948


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