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Hot and Bothered: How Globalization Stemmed Sex Education

Global Education Colloquium

February 17, 2015
Jonathan Zimmerman, Ph.D., New York University

Sex education has never won a sustained foothold in modern schools. Although sexual attitudes around the world have liberalized in the past half-century, sex education has not followed suit; indeed, the modern phenomena of globalization have mostly served to inhibit--not to expand--the subject. As visual and digital technologies spread new sexual images and ideas around the world, citizens joined hands to curtail sexual instruction in their schools. In the 20th century, the movement of people and ideas across nations made sex education into a subject without a home.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of Education and History at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Zimmerman also holds an appointment in the History Department in NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher, Zimmerman is the author of Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education (Princeton, 2015) and four other books. He is a frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other popular newspapers and magazines; he also appears every other week on WHYY, Philadelphia's National Public Radio affiliate, to discuss contemporary events in historical perspective. In 2008, Zimmerman received NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award.