Imagine an alternative world wherein the goal of sex education is not simply to reduce STIs and teen pregnancy, but to enhance happiness. Surprisingly, it was during the 1940s-1960s – a span of time that most people assume to be conservative – that schools rehabilitated sex’s sordid reputation. Teachers drew upon social science research to argue that sex would strengthen family life, and that no other behavior, law, or relationship could do the job so well. Through discussion of mid-century filmstrips and textbooks, as well as a healthy helping of participants’ own recollections, this session will consider what has changed over time, and what the future of sex eduction might be.
Lisa Andersen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and History at The Juilliard School in New York
Lisa Andersen is the author of The Politics of Prohibition: American Governance and the Prohibition Party, 1869-1933, published by Cambridge University Press, and is currently co-authoring with Paula McAvoy a book on the history and philosophy of sex education. She serves as Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and History at The Juilliard School in New York.
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