Emory’s Early History of Rules and Applications Toward Sexuality

Here we are today in a class all about sexuality, one of the oldest and most controversial topics of all time. We can trace the history of sexuality and sexual relations back to Biblical times and even trace some of the benefits and repercussions stemming from these experiences. I find it particularly interesting that we sit in classrooms today discussing what would have made people shutter at the very thought of openly discussing no more than fifty of 60 years ago. Then it occurs, to me that there seems to be some cyclical trend that had evolved over time with the nature of sexuality and how one’s sexuality and one’s sexual relations is perceived. Going back to my reference of Biblical times, let’s think about sexuality was considered back then. During these times, we could similarities of today throughout the books of the Bible—people arguing and fighting over the abominations of sexual desire and sexual habits. Not unlike today, there was controversy over prostitution, over sexual desire, and over sexual orientation. Now fast forward several thousand years to the times of when Greece was the pinnacle of human nature and the epicenter for a model society, and consider how sexuality was viewed. During this time of Greece (which we exalt as a great society), homosexuality, bisexuality and what today would be considered pedophilia were everyday phenomena. Again, as time went on, the perception of sexuality reverted back to more conservative notions. This brings us to today, where again we see the acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality, and where we now have begun attempting to explain these preferences and classify them with models such as the traditional model and the inclusive model.

From the perspective of this class, we are evaluating sexuality as it has pertained to Emory University. As shown in the previous paragraph, sexuality has been a complicated topic that society seems to periodically changes its levels of acceptance. Early in the history of Emory, the administration sought to control the behavior of its student through a rigorous set of rules that included banning “students from attending any ball, theatre, horse-race or cock-fight; from using intoxicating drinks; from playing cards; from playing at any game for stakes; from keeping fire-arms or any deadly weapon, a horse, a dog, or a servant; from engaging in anything forbidden by the Faculty; from associating with persons of known bad character; from visiting Covington or other near points beyond the limits of Oxford without permission of some member of the Faculty, and from visiting points more distant without written permission from parents or guardians and the permission of the President of the College; from visiting any place of ill-repute, or at which gaming is practiced, or intoxicating liquors are sold; from engaging in any ‘match game,’ or ‘intercollegiate’ game of football, baseball, whatsoever.”1 By extension of these rules and considering the time-period, we can assume that Emory would have frowned upon sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. By implanting such rules, Emory seemed to believed they could influence their student’s lives and repudiate such “ill” temptations through these rules, but upon, evaluating the excerpts of Yun Ch’i-ho’s journal we can see the effectiveness of these rules. In the very first sentence of the excerpts we reviewed, we can see Yun Ch’i-ho’s opinion of American women when he states, “if there are some things in America that I envy more than others, they are, first, it’s beautiful women.”2 In another portion of Yun’s journals he fell into a “vortex of seductive pleasures” where he would frequently seek the companionship of prostitutes and drunkenness.2  Yun shows us today that even though Emory had implemented these rules, they obviously failed in effectively altering their students overall opinion of such actions.

1. Urban, Andrew. “Romance and Race in the Jim Crow South: Yun Ch’i-ho and the Personal Politics of Christian Reform.” n. page. Print. <https://classes.emory.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1641960-dt-content-rid-262268_2/courses/FA12_AMST_385_DTROKA_Combined/Excerpts from Romance and Race in the Jim Crow South.pdf>.

2. Huak, Gary. “A Brief History.” Emory History. Emory University, 16/9/2010. Web. 16 Sep 2012.

2 thoughts on “Emory’s Early History of Rules and Applications Toward Sexuality

  1. Team STI: While I don’t disagree with your statement “During this time of Greece (which we exalt as a great society), homosexuality, bisexuality and what today would be considered pedophilia were everyday phenomena.” Could you provide your readers some citations to support that statement in case they want to read more about it? Also, you outline a number of the “rules” that Emory imparted to it’s students early on, what was the goal of these rules? What do you think they were trying to achieve, and why do you think they “failed” as you put it?

  2. Just wanted to point out that the arguably variable sexuality that has been suggested of the Ancient Greeks pertains almost inclusively to the most upper class of Athenian society and is primarily supported only by second hand historical evidence.

    Websites such as:
    http://www.livius.org/ho-hz/homosexuality/homosexuality.html
    attempt to show this evidence as they investigate the significance of the potential for homosexuality in time periods centered around advanced historical societies.

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