Helen Horowitz, Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor of History Emerita at Smith College, will give the inaugural lecture in the Library’s Ray Smith Symposium, Positions of Dissent, on September 20th at 6:00 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. Her talk is entitled The Battle over Sexual Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America. She will be introduced by Carol Faulkner, Associate Professor and Chair of SU’s History Department.
Is a “new reticence” creeping back into public discourse? Are we returning to issues faced in an earlier America, when open, fluid conversation about sex was shut down? Helen Horowitz believes that words matter, and that to forbid key words from public discourse has serious implications both for intelligent discussion and human freedom. An exploration of what happened in the nineteenth century may allow us to see more clearly the issues at work today.
Horowitz’s 2002 Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in History. She is the author of the following books: Culture and the City (1974), Alma Mater (1984), Campus Life (1987), and The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas (1994), Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of “The Yellow Wall-Paper (2011); co-author of The Flash Press (2008); co-editor, Love Across the Color Line: The Letters of Alice Hanley (1996); and editor, Landscape in Sight: J.B. Jackson’s America (1997) and Attitudes toward Sex in Antebellum America (2006).