This essay summarizes the methods and results of a collaborative student-faculty research project on the history of sexual politics at San Francisco State University. The collaborators collected and analyzed 160 mainstream, alternative, student, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans) media stories. After describing the project parameters and process, the essay discusses six themes: (1) LGBT history; (2) the Third World Liberation Front strike; (3) feminist sexual politics; (4) the history of heterosexuality; (5) sex businesses, commerce, and entrepreneurship; and (6) sexual arts and culture. The conclusion discusses project ethics and collaborative authorship. The essay’s most significant contributions are pedagogical, providing a model for history teachers interested in working with their students on research skills, digital methodologies, and collaborative projects. The essay also makes original contributions to historical scholarship, most notably in relation to the Third World Liberation Front strike. More generally, the essay provides examples of the growing visibility of LGBT activism, the intersectional character of race, gender, and sexual politics, the complicated nature of gender and sexual politics in the “movement of movements,” the commercialization of sex, and the construction of normative and transgressive heterosexualities in this period.
Teaching and Researching the History of Sexual Politics at San Francisco State, 1969–1970
Marc Stein is the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University, where he teaches courses on constitutional law, social movements, and the history of sexuality. He earned a BA in history at Wesleyan University (Connecticut) and a PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945–1972 (University of Chicago Press, 2000); Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe (University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement (Routledge, 2012); and The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History (NYU Press, 2019). He also served as editor-in-chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of LGBT History in America (Scribners, 2003) and as guest editor of “U.S. Homophile Internationalism,” a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality (2017). He is currently the coeditor of Queer Pasts, a digital history project published by Alexander Street/ProQuest. He has been awarded the Gregory Sprague Prize and Audre Lorde Prize by the Committee on LGBT History (1996 and 2006) and the Graduate Teaching Award by York University (2010). In 2022 the University of California Press will publish his next book, Queer Public History: Essays on Scholarly Activism, and Routledge will publish a second edition of Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement.
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Marc Stein; Teaching and Researching the History of Sexual Politics at San Francisco State, 1969–1970. California History 1 November 2021; 98 (4): 2–29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2021.98.4.2
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