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Perverts, Creepers, and Freaks: A History of Sexual Perversions


Which sexual behaviors qualify as perverted? What kind of person deserves the label “pervert” and its consequential ostracization? Who among us deserves to be locked in a cage for our sexual desires and actions? And, most intriguingly, why have certain sexual behaviors become the object of scrutiny at various points in history, while others have not? 

In this Olio, we will explore the history of sexual perversions, examining how and why particular sexual desires and behaviors were labeled as bad, abnormal, and unnatural at certain periods in Western thought. Why, for example, did Americans become so obsessed with pedophiles in the mid-late twentieth century? When did cross-dressing become associated with sexuality and thus marginalized as a perversion? Which rapists are considered perverted, or criminal, and which are just boys being boys? Is BDSM a healthy expression of desire, or a historically produced pathology? 

Grounded in feminist queer theory and historical analysis, this Olio will cover the history of sexual insiders and outsiders from the colonial era through the twentieth century. By examining just who and what constitutes the category of the pervert, we will learn something new about our assumptions of what we call normal, natural, or even worse, good. 




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.


Other upcoming Olios


May 25

Happiness?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 30

Ways of Listening

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Jun 1

What the Body Knows: Connecting Cells to Choreography

Taught by Olio Happy Hour
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 8

How Great is Gatsby?

Taught by Charles Riley
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 27

Gods That Fail

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Tompkins Ave Apartment

Sign Up - $15


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