In this seminar, we will read, talk, and think about the emergence of contemporary sexuality and gender studies in the last quarter of the twentieth century, as seen against the backdrop of civil rights struggles in the United States, anti-colonial struggles abroad, and various social and political crises played out in part through ongoing cultural changes. We will do a brief survey of central texts in feminism and queer theory, situating these works against a background of 19th and 20th century thought, with special emphasis on some psychoanalytic work and some Marxist work. Our discussion of these background materials will help prepare us to engage with recent work on sex and sexuality, questions about gender identity and gender diversity, the emergence of work focused on newly named “transgender” issues, and the intersection of issues surrounding sex and gender with contemporary concerns over human rights. Throughout the seminar, we will seek to enable and empower those who have been discouraged from sharing in academic engagements with these matters. We hope to help participants enter the larger conversation on sex and gender in the humanistic academy.