The Baldy Center Podcast

Episode 37. Greta LaFleur discusses “‘How Sex Became Good: The Feminist Movements and Racial Politics that Made Modern Sexuality.”

Published January 9, 2024

In Episode 37 of The Baldy Center Podcast, Greta LaFleur discusses the draft monograph, “‘How Sex Became Good: The Feminist Movements and Racial Politics that Made Modern Sexuality.” LaFleur, recipient of The Baldy Center Podcast Mid-Career Fellowship (2023-24), is associate professor of American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. 

Keywords: Sex; violence; LGBTQIA+; queer, gay, feminism; feminism movement; sexuality; politicalization.

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The way that sex and sexual desire has been bound to identity politics increasingly over the last fifty to seventy years, I think is part of the very specific politicization. The way that sexuality has been made political and has been shaped into a very specific political thing in the modern period.

So I'm curious about the way that efforts to address the problem of sexual violence over time shaped how we came to think about sexuality as something that's indelibly linked to freedom."

        —  Greta LaFleur
        (The Baldy Center Podcast, 2024)

Great LaFleur, The Baldy Center Mid-Career Fellow (2023-2024)

Research focus: Early North American literary and cultural studies, the history of science, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer studies

Greta LaFleur.

Greta LaFleur

On December 1, 2023, Greta LaFleur, The Baldy Center Mid-Career Fellow, delivered the presentation, "Sex Panics and Risk Metrics: Law, Propensity, and the History of Sexuality".

Bio:  Greta LaFleur, an associate professor of American Studies at Yale University, has been awarded a mid-career research fellowship at The Baldy Center for the academic year 2023-24. LaFleur’s research and teaching focus on eighteenth-century North America, with special emphasis on the histories of science, the histories of race, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer & trans studies.

Author of The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), LaFleur's fellowship at The Baldy Center will be dedicated to working on a second scholarly monograph, tentatively titled How Sex Became Good: The Feminist Movements and Racial Politics that Made Modern Sexuality (under contract with The University of Chicago Press). The work tracks how cultural and legal responses to the problem of sexual violence shaped the politicization of sexuality in the modern period.  

LaFleur is also the editor of: a special issue of American Quarterly, “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas”  (2019, with Kyla Schuller); a special issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly on “Trans Exclusionary Feminisms and the Global New Right” (2022, with Serena Bassi); and, a special issue of GLQ on “The Science of Sex Itself” (2023, with Benjamin Kahan).  

LaFleur’s research has been supported by several fellowships, including those at: the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Sciences); the American Council of Learned Societies; the Massachusetts Historical Society; the William Andrews Clark Library at UCLA; the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University; The Clement Library at The University of Michigan; the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA; and, The Newberry Library in Chicago. LaFleur holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from The University of Connecticut.

Logan, Podcast Host/Producer 2023-24



Logan, The Baldy Center’s 2023-2024 podcast host/producer, is a graduate student in UB's School of Architecture and Planning, Program on International Development and Global Health. Logan is interested in NGOs and nonprofit global health initiatives within the global south. Logan completed undergraduate studies in Public Health, with a minor in Spanish, and has recently been accepted into a certificate program at NYU x Rolling Stone for Modern Journalism. As graduate research assistant, Logan has worked for the Women’s Health Initiative, and, the Community for Global Health Equity. Recipient of the 2022 Art Goshin Global Health Fieldwork Award for research on Decentralization of Health Services in Ghana, Logan currently serves as a research assistant with Dr. Tia Palermo's 2PE lab. 

Executive Producers

Samantha Barbas
Professor, UB School of Law;
Director, The Baldy Center

Amanda M. Benzin 
Associate Director
The Baldy Center