Sexuality in the History of Empires - the 2018 Boswell Lecture

Friday, October 19, 2018 | 3:00 pm

Ewell Hall, Ewell Recital Hall

Professor Merry Wiesner-Hanks of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee presents the 2018 Boswell Lecture.

Imperial power is explicitly and implicitly linked with sexuality. Empires become empires through conquest — but they only stay empires by controlling and regulating sexual relations, from the top of society to the bottom, accommodating, creating, and manipulating categories of identity and difference among populations.

This connection between politics and sexuality in most of recorded history is so close that it has generally been invisible to historians, but it was not to those who held power or hoped to gain it. Professor Wiesner-Hanks will highlight this link, focusing especially on the early modern period, that first age of global empires.

A reception will follow in the lobby outside Ewell Recital Hall.