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Leeds Trinity academic publishes first book on the history of sex

Posted on 02 October 2019

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​​​​An English lecturer who has spent the last five years researching the history of sex is getting ready to publish her first book.

Dr Kate Lister, lecturer in English at Leeds Trinity University, will publish her first book in February 2020, titled 'A Curious History of Sex'. The book, which is based on Dr Lister's own research into the history of sex, will explore a broad range of subjects including safe-sex, mythical historical figures, etymology of words related to sex, female genital mutilation and the biology of sex.

The book follows Dr Lister's research project Whores of Yore, which she set up in 2015 to encourage conversation on the history of sexuality, the plight of modern sex workers and wider social issues. The project provides academics, activists, sex workers and archivists with a platform to share their experiences, research and stories around sexuality and sexuality studies.

The Whores of Yore Twitter account has gained almost 300,000 followers, and the online reaction from followers across these platforms has inspired the topics featured in 'A Curious History of Sex'. ​

Dr Lister is donating proceeds from the book to Basis S​ex Work Project​, which forms part of Basis Yorkshire – a charity that supports vulnerable members of society.

Dr Lister said: "I had so much fun writing this book, but by far the best thing about doing it is being able to raise money for a charity who have supported vulnerable women for over thirty years."

The book has been published by Unbound, using a crowdfunding model which received more than 1,700 pledges.

Professor Ray Lloyd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said: "Dr Lister plays a significant role in our growing research community at Leeds Trinity University and it is fantastic to see her research published, with the support of so many people from all over the world.

"With the launch of the new Sexuality and Ethics module within our English programme at Leeds Trinity University, this area of study considers the historical precedents and theoretical frameworks necessary to understand the role of sexuality in shaping personal, social, economic, and political life." 

Dr Lister will also be delivering a Trinity Talk on Wednesday 6 November during the University's annual Journalism and Media Week. The talk, Challenging the Stigma of Sex Work in the Media, will explore how women are represented in the media and address the consequences of these representations. This event is free for staff and students at Leeds Trinity, and members of the public are also welcome to attend, with early bird tickets, priced at £6, available until midnight on Sunday 6 October.

'A Curious History of Sex' will be released in February 2020. You can pre-order your copy online, with prices starting at £10.