- Fellowship year:2017-2018
- University: Indiana University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: Gender/Social Science
- Dissertation Title: Diagnosed with Sex: Rethinking Social Science, Sex Research, and Identity, 1880-1970
Recently, sexual identity has been at the forefront of cultural and political debates. How does sexuality shape who we are, how we view ourselves, and how we view and interact with other people? Scholars have not yet explored fully the changing meaning and uses of "identity" over time. Nor have scholars interrogated the importance of erotic experience, desire, and emotional connection, as phenomena broader than same-sex attraction including heterosexual encounters, masturbation, fantasy, and love as part of the formation of a coherent identity. Without answering such questions, we are left with an inadequate understanding of same-sex desire and attraction in the past and an incomplete picture of the development of LGBT and heterosexual indentities and communities. I demonstrate the impact sex researchers had on the development of sexual identity from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century. I aim to show that, although many social and cultural forces affected the development of sexual identities and sexual politics, it was through changes in sex research- often responding to social concerns such as homosexuality- that identity became such a central concept. In effect, sexual identity developed slowly, culminating only the 1970s.