This course explores aspects of the legal regulation of sexuality. The course will pursue two main goals. The first goal is to read and discuss the formal "black letter" law found in judicial decisions, statutes, and administrative rules. The second, overlapping, goal is to introduce and discuss concepts from a variety of disciplines (and from other legal systems) that can be used be understand and interrogate the deeper ideological and political determinants of U.S. sex law. Among the questions on which we will focus throughout the semester are these: How has sexuality (and related notions such as sexuality and gender) been defined, posed and addressed as a problem in and for the U.S. legal system? What role do various conceptions of sexuality play in framing the terms, the argumentative strategies and resolution of legal disputes? What shaping functions do legal constructions of sexuality exert in and on broader political conversations about sex and social justice in the contemporary U.S.?
Topics to be discussed include the scope and limits of the "public/private" distinction as a conceptual framework in U.S. sex law; legal efforts to define and distinguish sex, gender and sexuality, sexual acts, gender identities and expressions (male, female, transgender, transsexual, intersex), and sexual identities ("homosexuality," "heterosexuality," and "bisexuality"); law, sexuality and intimate association; sexuality, gender, and reproduction; law gender, and sexuality in the U.S. military; gender, sexuality, surveillance and citizenship; law, sexuality, kinship and family relations; gender identity, sexuality and the legal construction, and regulation, of the human body; sex, sexuality and sexual commerce; law, sexuality and violence.