100 books like The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2

By Michel Foucault,

Here are 100 books that The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2 fans have personally recommended if you like The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Who am I?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

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.

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


Book cover of The Dispossessed

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From my list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Who am I?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Nick Fuller Googins Why did Nick love this book?

This is the grandmother of all great utopian fiction, my favorite science-fiction novel by my favorite science-fiction author, and the number-one source of inspiration for my book.

The novel opens on a moon (not ours) where a utopian anarchist society has long existed, but is now under threat from a host of antagonists on the mother planet. The novel is masterful because it is both enormous in scope (covering entire economies and political structures) but also extremely intimate (following one man, one relationship, one family).

The novel does not have to do with the climate crisis, or Earth, but I’m including it here because of the role it played in my writing; when I set out to write a climate crisis utopia, The Dispossessed was absolutely instrumental, offering me a blueprint on how to build tension and make a utopia personal. Most of all, it will give you so much…

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

14 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…


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

Giorgos Kallis Author Of Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care

From my list on living within limits.

Who am I?

I wrote a book on Limits. Limits is the core question of modern environmentalism. But I want to break environmentalism out of the grip of Malthusianism and a set of ideas about our world as being inherently limited, that have delegated us environmentalists to party-pooping prophets of doom. I want to reclaim a radical notion of self-limitation which is what makes the environmentalist movement unique – a claim that a free life worth living is a life lived within limits, a simple life so that others may simply live. It is not the planet that is asking us to limit ourselves, but we that desire it.

Giorgos' book list on living within limits

Giorgos Kallis Why did Giorgos love this book?

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…

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…


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

Giorgos Kallis Author Of Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care

From my list on living within limits.

Who am I?

I wrote a book on Limits. Limits is the core question of modern environmentalism. But I want to break environmentalism out of the grip of Malthusianism and a set of ideas about our world as being inherently limited, that have delegated us environmentalists to party-pooping prophets of doom. I want to reclaim a radical notion of self-limitation which is what makes the environmentalist movement unique – a claim that a free life worth living is a life lived within limits, a simple life so that others may simply live. It is not the planet that is asking us to limit ourselves, but we that desire it.

Giorgos' book list on living within limits

Giorgos Kallis Why did Giorgos love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of The History of Sexuality

Don Kulick Author Of A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

From my list on see the world with fresh eyes.

Who am I?

I am an anthropologist who has written or edited more than a dozen books on topics that range from the lives of trans sex workers, to the anthropology of fat. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Scandinavia. I work at Uppsala University in Sweden, where I am a Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology, and where I direct a research program titled Engaging Vulnerability.

Don's book list on see the world with fresh eyes

Don Kulick Why did Don love this book?

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.

By Michel Foucault, Robert Hurley (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Sexuality 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.


Book cover of Turned on: Science, Sex and Robots

Susie Alegre Author Of Freedom to Think: Protecting a Fundamental Human Right in the Digital Age

From my list on how technology affects your human rights.

Who am I?

I’ve always been passionate about social justice as a writer and as an international human rights lawyer. I had worked on human rights, surveillance, and privacy for decades around the world, but it was when I first read about Cambridge Analytica back in 2017 that it felt personal – privacy is the gateway to our right to freedom of thought and opinion and Big Tech is increasingly acting as the gatekeeper to all our human rights. These books have all helped me to understand what the risks are and how to tackle them.

Susie's book list on how technology affects your human rights

Susie Alegre Why did Susie love this book?

In Turned On, Kate Devlin takes us on a ride through the history of sex and technology, from the Ancient Greeks to modern sex robots. 

This book is written by a technologist with an acute sense of the human. Not strictly a book about human rights, Devlin raises human rights and ethical considerations around sex tech as well as offering optimism and imagination about the ways that we could enhance our intimate lives with technology. 

The way we experience sex and intimacy is at the heart of our right to private lives, Turned On offers an erudite, funny, and sensitive exploration of what technology could mean for us.

By Kate Devlin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors 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…


Book cover of Sexual Progressives: Reimagining Intimacy in Scotland, 1880-1914

Donna J. Drucker Author Of Fertility Technology

From my list on the history of sexuality in modernity.

Who am I?

I have long been drawn to how people of the past think about their sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors. I conducted my PhD research at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, where I spent many happy hours reading letters and books voicing people’s unfiltered desires for sexual arousal, connection, and expression. I found the punched-card machines that Alfred Kinsey used to organize data from his personal interviews oddly compelling, and that interest developed into a long-term engagement with the intersection of gender and sexuality with science and technology. I share my fascination with readers through my books on Kinsey, machines used in sex research, contraception, and fertility technology.

Donna's book list on the history of sexuality in modernity

Donna J. Drucker Why did Donna love this book?

A small number of Scots at the end of the Victorian era and throughout the Edwardian era were eager to live in a world ungoverned by Protestant Christianity and unrestricted by its strict sexual morality.

Cheadle introduces readers to socialists, freethinkers, and writers in Glasgow and Edinburgh who advocated for sexual freedoms grounded in new forms of political, religious, and cultural thought. One example is Jane Hume Clapperton, who was deeply involved in the suffrage movement, described birth control methods in her 1888 novel Margaret Dunmore, and demanded full sexual freedom for women. 

Sexual Progressives brings them to life, showing how they questioned dominant morality and envisioned a way of life in which people could prioritize sexual freedom and pleasure. You won’t forget them.

By Tanya Cheadle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sexual Progressives is a major new study of the feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of the Victorian period. Drawing on a range of sources, from letters and diaries to radical newspapers and utopian novels, it provides the first group portrait of Scotland's hitherto neglected sexual rebels. They include Bella and Charles Pearce, prominent Glasgow socialists and disciples of an American-based mystic who taught that religion needed 're-sexed'; Jane Hume Clapperton, a feminist freethinker with advanced views on birth-control and women's right to sexual pleasure; and Patrick Geddes, founder of an avant-garde Edinburgh subculture and co-author of…


Book cover of Sex in the Heartland

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Author Of White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900-1960

From my list on sex in the past.

Who am I?

Over my twenty years as a historian, the common thread in my work is the gap between how people are supposed to behave and how they actually do behave. From interracial sexual relationships in the segregated South, to rum smuggling from Cuba during Prohibition, to abortion on college campuses before Roe, I'm interested in how people work around rules they don’t like. And rules about sex are some of the most ignored rules of all. Reading about strange beliefs and common desires connect us to our ancestors. Being a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama allows me to research bad behavior in the past to my heart’s content.

Lisa's book list on sex in the past

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Why did Lisa love this book?

It is all very well and good to talk about the sexual revolution in places like New York City or San Francisco. But what did it look like in places like Kansas? This book tells you. It might surprise you that for college students the sexual revolution started with dorm rules in the 1950s. Or that concerns about overpopulation fueled distribution of the Pill. And that women’s liberation was a big deal even in fly-over country. Ultimately, this book makes clear that the changes that we connect with the Sexual Revolution happened in every corner of the United States.

By Beth Bailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sex in the Heartland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of the sexual revolution in a small university town in the quintessential heartland state of Kansas. Bypassing the oft-told tales of radicals and revolutionaries on either coast, Beth Bailey argues that the revolution was forged in towns and cities alike, as "ordinary" people struggled over the boundaries of public and private sexual behaviour in postwar America. The author challenges contemporary perceptions of the revolution as simply a triumph of free love and gay lib. Rather, she explores the long-term and mainstream changes in American society, beginning in the economic and social dislocations of World War II…


Book cover of The Fires of Lust: Sex in the Middle Ages

Cara Hogarth Author Of My Lady of the Whip

From my list on medieval sexuality.

Who am I?

Cara Hogarth emigrated from England to Australia as a child, but always wished she hadn’t. So she studied medieval history at university in order to travel back in time and place. Now that she’s bagged a PhD (on Chaucer’s raunchy Wife of Bath), she prefers to write historical fiction in order to truly immerse herself and her readers in the past. She finds academic history a fantastic inspiration for her fiction writing, but is always seeking out historical novels that hit just the right balance between research, humor, and page-turning plot. Warning: her novels can get quite steamy!

Cara's book list on medieval sexuality

Cara Hogarth Why did Cara love this book?

This history of medieval sex is aimed at a non-academic readership and covers topics from the theology of sex in Eden, medieval definitions of incest (don’t sleep with your god-parents), and the fact that any abnormal sexual activity was considered sodomy (hint: stick to the missionary position).

In short, medieval attitudes to sex were very different from our own. This is a tricky thing to portray in historical fiction, especially historical romance. I’ve covered my copy of this book in pencil scribbles. A readable and entertaining popular history featuring a great cover image straight from a medieval manuscript!

By Katherine Harvey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The medieval humoral system of medicine suggested that it was possible to die from having too much - or too little - sex, while the Roman Catholic Church taught that virginity was the ideal state. Holy men and women committed themselves to lifelong abstinence in the name of religion. Everyone was forced to conform to restrictive rules about whom they could have sex with, in what way, how often, and even when, and could be harshly punished for getting it wrong. Other experiences are more familiar. Like us, medieval people faced challenges in finding a suitable partner or trying to…


Book cover of Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener

Allison Lange Author Of Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women's Suffrage Movement

From my list on American suffragists.

Who am I?

I’m Allison Lange, and I’m a historian who writes, gives talks, teaches, and curates exhibitions. For the 19th Amendment centennial, I served as Historian for the United States Congress’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. I am also creating the first filmed series on American women’s history for Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses). My first book, Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement focuses on the ways that women’s voting rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power. My next book situates current iconic pictures within the context of historical ones to demonstrate that today’s visual debates about gender and politics are shaped by those of the past.

Allison's book list on American suffragists

Allison Lange Why did Allison love this book?

Helen Hamilton Gardener secured crucial support from leading politicians in Washington, DC for the 19th Amendment’s ratification. Despite her significance, few know the story of her exciting and controversial life. Fortunately, Kimberly Hamlin tells Gardener’s dramatic story in her book Free Thinker. Born Alice Chenoweth in 1853, she had to leave her job as a teacher in Ohio after an affair with a married school commissioner in 1876. She adopted the name Helen Hamilton Gardener and a range of modern ideas: women’s rights, opposition to the sexual double standard, and freethought. Gardener eventually became the highest-ranking female official in the federal government by the time of her death in 1925. Free Thinker provides a fascinating glimpse into the behind-the-scenes politics that led to the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

By Kimberly A. Hamlin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Free Thinker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Ohio newspapers published the story of Alice Chenoweth's affair with a married man, she changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener, moved to New York, and devoted her life to championing women's rights and decrying the sexual double standard. She published seven books and countless essays, hobnobbed with the most interesting thinkers of her era, and was celebrated for her audacious ideas and keen wit. Opposed to piety, temperance, and conventional thinking, Gardener eventually settled in Washington, D.C., where her tireless work proved, according to her colleague Maud Wood Park, "the most potent factor" in the passage of the…


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