In the spring of 2014, students in History 2630: History of Modern Sexualities explored the regulation of sex and sexuality in modern America, with comparative emphasis given to jurisdictions globally. Structured thematically, lectures, readings, films and class discussion investigated a number of ways sexuality has been regulated and policed by the state in modern American history, including, but not limited to: access to contraception and abortion, miscegenation laws, prostitution, sexualized violence, sexually explicit expression, laws against sodomy, immigration policy, the military’s ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, prohibitions on blood/tissue donation, laws governing same-sex parenthood, and the regulation of same-sex marriage.
In lieu of a final examination, students worked throughout the semester on applying knowledge from the course to a fictional appellate court case, Whitney v. Mississippi, involving the state of Mississippi’s prohibition of adoption by same-gendered couples. Students were assigned to represent either Jonathan Whitney and Michael Connelly, a couple challenging the Mississippi adoption statute, or the state of Mississippi. The semester’s capstone event, an appellate oral argument, took place in the Frank C. Woodside III Courtroom in Drinko Hall. At the podium is Sexuality Studies minor Catie Lewis.