10 books like The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2

By Michel Foucault,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Limits To Growth summarized the first major computer simulation of world society. It was comprehensive, including the influence of: human population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. The results were sobering! It showed that, if major limits were not established for human population, pollution, and resource depletion, a severe collapse of human society would follow in the near future. What most people do not know is, the report was so disturbing it was accepted by the United Nations for action. It was so well received by world leaders that, by 1974, almost every world nation agreed to take major steps to set such limits. China, for example, established its one-child family policy. Ironically, the U.S. refused any commitment. By 1978, carbon industry disinformation killed all the commitments.

The Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Limits to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Examines the factors which limit human economic and population growth and outlines the steps necessary for achieving a balance between population and production. Bibliogs


The Dispossessed

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of The Dispossessed

The clue’s in the title of this one: in Le Guin’s high-concept future (set on the moon of Anarres, though it’s effectively a stand-in for what Earth could one day be like), human beings are…free. Free from materialism, the wage system, resource hoarding, political one-upmanship, rampant industrialism and all those fantastically capitalist things that have turned our planet into a dystopian factory. The anarcho-syndicalism of Anarres may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but The Dispossessed offers a fascinating look at how a society that puts the collective ahead of personal desires could work in practice.

The Dispossessed

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Dispossessed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…


The Malthusian Moment

By Thomas Robertson,

Book cover of The Malthusian Moment: Global Population Growth and the Birth of American Environmentalism

This is a brilliant intellectual history of US environmentalism and its rooting on what in the 1960s was seen as a global ‘population bomb’. The global population kept growing in the 1980s and 1990s, but slower, and the bomb has, for the time being at least, been defused. It is time for environmentalists like myself to reflect on the legacy of our roles as prophets of unrealised doom, and this book helps us get the historical record right. Paul Ehrlich is a key figure in this story of overpopulation scare, that was not a marginal academic debate, but one that made it into the political mainstream, and around which Ronald Reagan fashioned his persona, as the ever optimist who unlike Jimmy Carter, did not succumb to limits of growth, and the pessimism of Ehlrich and his likes. What I learned from this book is that unless environmentalists develop a positive…

The Malthusian Moment

By Thomas Robertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Malthusian Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) is often cited as the founding text of the U.S. environmental movement, in The Malthusian Moment Thomas Robertson locates the origins of modern American environmentalism in twentieth-century adaptations of Thomas Malthus's concerns about population growth. For many environmentalists, managing population growth became the key to unlocking the most intractable problems facing Americans after World War II-everything from war and the spread of communism overseas to poverty, race riots, and suburban sprawl at home.

Weaving together the international and the domestic in creative new ways, The Malthusian Moment charts the explosion of Malthusian thinking in…


The Limits to Scarcity

By Lyla Mehta,

Book cover of The Limits to Scarcity: Contesting the Politics of Allocation

This edited volume questions the notion of scarcity, which is the lynchpin of modern economics. Ever since Malthus’s Essay on Population at the turn of the 19th century, there is a myth that human wants are unlimited (and illimitable) and that the world is too small for all of us and our needs. Economists invented this myth to justify capitalism´s perpetuation of inequality and poverty amidst plenty, constructing an ideology of limitless growth as the only possible response to our predicament of this supposed universal and eternal scarcity. The contributions to this volume reveal how this ideology of scarcity plays out till our day, and elites invoke scarcity and limits to control the bodies and desires of marginalized groups. 

The Limits to Scarcity

By Lyla Mehta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Limits to Scarcity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scarcity is considered a ubiquitous feature of the human condition. It underpins much of modern economics and is widely used as an explanation for social organisation, social conflict and the resource crunch confronting humanity's survival on the planet. It is made out to be an all-pervasive fact of our lives - be it of housing, food, water or oil. But has the conception of scarcity been politicized, naturalized, and universalized in academic and policy debates? Has overhasty recourse to scarcity evoked a standard set of market, institutional and technological solutions which have blocked out political contestations, overlooking access as a…


The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1

By Michel Foucault,

Book cover of The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction

This is the Granddaddy of earthshattering, perspective-changing books: philosopher Michel Foucault’s nimble dissection of the rise and the role of sexuality in the Western world. Written, and surely meant to be read, more like a Homeric epic poem than an academic treatise, every single sentence in this book quivers with energy and perception. From pithy aphorisms like “The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species”, to heady pronouncements such as ‘”Power relations are both intentional and nonsubjective”, this book is a gift that perpetually keeps on giving. Guaranteed to blow your mind.

The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1

By Michel Foucault,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why we are so fascinated with sex and sexuality—from the preeminent philosopher of the 20th century.

Michel Foucault offers an iconoclastic exploration of why we feel compelled to continually analyze and discuss sex, and of the social and mental mechanisms of power that cause us to direct the questions of what we are to what our sexuality is.


Turned on

By Kate Devlin,

Book cover of Turned on: Science, Sex and Robots

Kate Devlin is an expert in both the robotic/computer and social dimensions of human-technology interaction. This is a witty, insightful, and very humane tour of the fast-moving world of sex technology. Provides a clear view of the potential downsides, likely upsides, and the importance of not being constrained by the imaginations of a small and homogeneous subset of developers and technologists. This is the sex robot book, but it is about much more than robots. 

Turned on

By Kate Devlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Turned on as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Illuminating, witty and written with a wide open mind' Sunday Times

The idea of the seductive sex robot is the stuff of myth, legend and science fiction. From the myth of Laodamia in Ancient Greece to twenty-first century shows such as Westworld, robots in human form have captured our imagination, our hopes and our fears. But beyond the fantasies there are real and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology as it moves into the realm of robotics.

Turned On explores how the emerging and future development of sexual companion robots might affect us and the society in which we…


Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style

By Kateřina Lisková,

Book cover of Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945-1989

Katerina Liskova’s intriguing sociological and historical study provides a deep dive into the creation of “expert knowledge” by progressive sexologists in the former socialist state of Czechoslovakia. She argues convincingly that while American housewives pottered around their kitchens in the 1950s, Czechoslovak women experienced a sexual revolution after abortion was legalized, same sex love was decriminalized, and scientists focused on how to improve women’s sex lives. State efforts to promote the ideal of full gender equality within romantic relations gave women new opportunities for education and professional advancement that their mothers and grandmothers could scarcely have dreamed of.

Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style

By Kateřina Lisková,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first account of sexual liberation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Katerina Liskova reveals how, in the case of Czechoslovakia, important aspects of sexuality were already liberated during the 1950s - abortion was legalized, homosexuality decriminalized, the female orgasm came into experts' focus - and all that was underscored by an emphasis on gender equality. However, with the coming of Normalization, gender discourses reversed and women were to aspire to be caring mothers and docile wives. Good sex was to cement a lasting marriage and family. In contrast to the usual Western accounts highlighting the importance…


Been There, Done That

By Rachel Feltman,

Book cover of Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex

Why are there so many sex books on my peculiar list? Because sex is one of those subjects we often ignore or treat as taboo—despite it being around since, well, according to Feltman, a particularly amorous pre-historic ameba-like critter. This book also appeals to me because, as a gender-fluid person, I love the idea that the evolutionary status quo used to be essentially pansexual, with exploded gender categories (basically, that ameba was going to try its luck with anything it came across). Along the way, this book stomps on myths and instead shares true facts, which are often much weirder. You will love it.

Been There, Done That

By Rachel Feltman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Been There, Done That as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rollicking, myth-busting history of sex that moves from historical attempts at birth control to Hildegard von Bingen’s treatise on the female orgasm, demystifying plenty of urban legends along the way.

Roman physicians told female patients they should sneeze out as much semen as possible after intercourse to avoid pregnancy. Historical treatments for erectile dysfunction included goat testicle transplants. In this kaleidoscopic compendium of centuries-old erotica, science writer Rachel Feltman shows how much sex has changed—and how much it hasn’t. With unstoppable curiosity, she debunks myths, breaks down stigma, and uses the long, outlandish history of sex to dissect present-day…


Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Hartman is one of those academic writers who write like novelists or poets; this is a good thing, because her material is the history of the marginalized, people pushed to the margins of history, so that often the only traces left of them are some entries in police or workhouse or hospital records. How to make those records speak and live again? Daringly, Hartman allows herself the poetic license to imagine in the gaps and silences. What results is a Black history/story that renders visible the unrecorded anarchic rebellions of Black women at the turn of the century, seeking out new and joyful possibilities for life. An incredible achievement.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading…


Desired States

By Lessie Jo Frazier,

Book cover of Desired States: Sex, Gender, and Political Culture in Chile

Using a truly interdisciplinary approach anchored in queer studies and affect theory, Frazier subverts the common approach to sex as privatized and located in individual subjectivity by looking at desire as a central component of political culture and power. The book explores a variety of Chilean political projects and actors throughout the twentieth century including feminists, the revolutionary left, and the military dictatorship to understand the ways in which both sexual and non-sexual practices and ideologies were intrinsically connected to emotions and ideas of pleasure and to sexualized and gendered discourses and experiences.

Desired States

By Lessie Jo Frazier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desired States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Desired States challenges the notion that in some cultures, sex and sexuality have become privatized and located in individual subjectivity rather than in public political practices and institutions. Instead, the book contends that desire is a central aspect of political culture. Based on fieldwork and archival research, Frazier explores the gendered and sexualized dynamics of political culture in Chile, an imperialist context, asking how people connect with and become mobilized in political projects in some cases or, in others, become disaffected or are excluded to varying degrees. The book situates the state in a rich and changing context of transnational…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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