Tag Archives: gender

Sexology and Translation – Continued

Last week I published a post for Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality to mark the publication of a collection of essays I edited, Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World

I had already briefly introduced the project here. However, the Notches post gave me an opportunity to reflect more fully on the project, and the contributions made by scholars working on sexuality in modern Austria, China, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Japan, Palestine, Peru and Russia. You can read the full post below.

It prompted a number of people to get in touch with me about their research and teaching diverse topics relating to modern sexual science, broadly conceived, in a wide range of geographical contexts including – and going beyond-  the ones covered in the book.

I would love to hear about more of this work. So if you’re interested in sharing your research or teaching, send me an email: h.bauer@bbk.ac.uk

___________________________________

Found in Translation: How Sexual Debates Developed Across the Modern World

A new collection of essays I edited, Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World (Temple UP, 2015) shows that the emergence of modern sexuality was a global phenomenon.

The book examines the contemporaneous emergence of sexual science in Europe, Asia, Peru, and the Middle East between the later nineteenth century and the period leading up to World War II. It brings together literary and cultural scholars, historians, sociologists, and political scientists whose contributions cover topics ranging from the history of frigidity to ‘third sex’ culture in 1920s Berlin and the development of the sexual sciences in Russia.

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Many of the contributors first met at an international, Wellcome Trust funded symposium I organized in 2012. The event was prompted by the realization that while we know that many of the founding texts of the sexual science in nineteenth-century Europe were multilingual as well highly intertextual, we still know relatively little about the global travels of ideas and people that shaped modern sexual debates.

Continue reading

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New book! Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World

I’m very happy to announce this collection of essays, which will be published in October.

Orders placed before 1 October will get money off with this promo code: T20P.

2363_reg

Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World, edited by Heike Bauer.

Sexuality Studies Series, edited by Janice Irvince and Regina Kuenzel.
Temple University Press.
284 pp
paper: 978-1-43991-249-2
cloth: 978-1-43991-248-5
ebook 978-1-43991-250-8

CONTENTS

Introduction: Translation and the Global Histories of Sexuality
• Heike Bauer 1

Part I. Conceptualizations

1 Translation as Lexical Invention: An Intellectual History
of Frigiditas and Anaphrodisia • Peter Cryle 19

2 Translation as Transposition: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch,
Darwinian Thought, and the Concept of Love in German
Sexual Modernity • Birgit Lang 37

3 Representing the “Third Sex”: Cultural Translations
of the Sexological Encounter in Early Twentieth-Century
Germany • Katie Sutton 53

4 Data of Desire: Translating (Homo)Sexology in Republican China
• Howard Chiang 72

Part II. Formations

5 British Sexual Science beyond the Medical: Cross-Disciplinary,
Cross-Historical, and Cross-Cultural Translations
• Kate Fisher and Jana Funke 95

6 Translating Sexology in Late-Tsarist and Early-Soviet Russia:
Politics, Literature, and the Science of Sex
• Brian James Baer 115

7 Translating Sexology, Writing the Nation: Sexual Discourse and
Practice in Hebrew and Arabic in the 1930s • Liat Kozma 135

8 Translation and Two “Chinese Sexologies”: Double Plum and
Sex Histories • Leon Antonio Rocha 154

Part III. Dis/Identifications

9 Novel Translations of the Scientific Subject: Clorinda Matto
de Turner, Margarita Práxedes Muñoz, and the Gendered
Shaping of Discourses of Desire in Nineteenth-Century Peru
• Jennifer Fraser 179

10 The Translation of Edward Carpenter’s The Intermediate
Sex in Early Twentieth-Century Japan • Michiko Suzuki 197

11 Translation and the Construction of a “Uranian” Identity:
Edward Prime-Stevenson’s [Xavier Mayne’s] The Intersexes
(1908) • James P. Wilper 216

12 Suicidal Subjects: Translation and the Affective Foundations
of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Sexology • Heike Bauer 233

*****

Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters Across the Modern World can be pre-ordered from Temple University Press http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2363_reg.html

1 May 2014: Homophobia Rewritten programme out now!

IMG_1437 - Version 2This update is no longer accurate. Due to venue constraints we had to limit attendance to speakers only. I have updated the post accordingly. HB

 I’m really pleased to announce that the programme for the Homophobia Rewritten symposium I’m organising at Birkbeck is now available. The line-up of speakers includes a fantastic mix of literary and cultural critics, historians and gender studies scholars – and, of course, the brilliant Alison Donnell, who will present the keynote.

******

HOMOPHOBIA REWRITTEN: 

New Literary and Cultural Perspectives on Violence and Sexuality

 Friday, 13 June 2014

Birkbeck, University of London

 ******

PROGRAMME 

9.30: Welcome & Introduction

         Heike Bauer (Birkbeck): Dead Queer.

 9.45 – 10.45: Dead Ends

Conny Wächter (Paderborn), ‘Internalised Heteronormativity

and Suicide in E.M. Forster and Victoria Cross’.

Lucy Iwamoto (Roehampton), ‘Hate and Homotopias: Young Adult Fiction,

Before, During and After Section 28’.

 11.00 – 12.30: Questionable Visibilities

David R. Sorensen (St Joseph’s University), ‘“An Unnamable Object”:

                     Carlyle, Frederick the Great and the Love that Dared not

Speak Its Name’.

Dominic Janes (Birkbeck), ‘Caricature and Images of Same-Sex Desire

Before the Trials of Oscar Wilde’.

Caroline Walters (Middlesex), ‘Femme Anthologies: Making Femme

Identities Visible’. 

1.30-3.00: Popular Injury

Katherine Hubbard (Surrey), ‘Psychology, Homosexuality and the Graphic

Novels of Alan Moore’.

Monalesia Earle (Birkbeck), ‘”Gutter”: Gloria Naylor’s The Women of

Brewster Place (1982)’.

Harriet King (Nottingham), “A Special King of Suffering”: First Nations

    Sexuality, Gothic Tradition and Trauma Theory in Tomson

      Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen’.

3.15- 4.45: Present Tensions

Churnjeet Mahn (Surrey) & Diane Watt (Surrey), ‘Incendiary Sexualities:

Setting Light to Lesbian Bodies in Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996)’.

Howard Chiang (Warwick), ‘2013: Queering Marriage in Sinophone Communitiies’

Benjamin Eveslage (SOAS), ‘Contemporary Politicisation of

Homosexuality: Presidential Narratives in Sub-Saharan Africa’

 5.00 – 6.00: Keynote   

Alison Donnell (Reading),

Caribbean Queer: Impossibility or Inevitability

*******

The symposium is supported by the

AHRC, BIGS & the Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck

Contact: h.bauer@bbk.ac.uk                                               

28 April 2014. Call for Papers: Graphic Details

The call-for-papers deadline is approaching for a symposium I’m organising with Sarah Lightman on comics, autobiography and Jewish women. Check below for full details. And please spread the word!

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Detail from a work by Ilana Zeffren

The symposium will accompany the wonderful Graphic Details exhibition at Space Station 65, Kennington (October- November 2014). Curated by Sarah Lightman and Michael Kaminer, it is the first museum exhibit dedicated to the contribution Jewish women have made to the genre of autobiographical comics. Featuring original drawings, full comic books and graphic novels it presents work by artists whose intimate and complex work has influenced the world of comics over the last four decades. They include Vanessa Davis; Bernice Eisenstein; Sarah Glidden; Miriam Katin; Aline Kominsky-Crumb; Miss Lasko-Gross; Sarah Lazarovic; Miriam Libicki; Sarah Lightman; Diane Noomin; Corinne Pearlman; Trina Robbins; Racheli Rotner; Sharon Rudahl; Laurie Sandell; Ariel Schrag; Lauren Weinstein; and Ilana Zeffren.

On 12 November 2014, cartoonists and academics will come together in London to discuss comics by and about Jewish women. Confirmed participants include Dr. David Brauner (University of Reading), Dr Ariela Freedman (Concordia University), and Graphic Details Artist Corinne Pearlman (Playing the Jewish Card). Submissions for papers and panel sessions on any aspect of comics by and about Jewish women are welcome.

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CALL FOR PAPERS

Graphic Details: A Symposium on Autobiographical Comics by Jewish Women

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

JW3, The Jewish Community Centre London

Comics and graphic narratives are currently receiving substantial attention in popular culture and academic disciplines across the arts and humanities. The rise of genres such as graphic memoirs, graphic journalism and graphic histories, for example, indicates that the representation of lived experience in comics form has become central to explorations of individual and collective identities, and to the documentation of historical and social events. But how, if at all, does the representation of often deeply personal feelings and individual experiences connect to collective events and identities? Can we identify shared themes and concerns in the work of contemporary Jewish women comics artists?

We invite contributions for 20-minute papers that explore the intersections between Jewishness and other forms of identification and identity in comics and graphic narratives by women. Papers may address but are not limited to:

Women and Comics * Feminism * Gender * Sexuality * The Body * Illness * Trauma * Memory * Family * History * Israel & Palestine * Race * Religion * Cultural Politics * Artistic and/or Literary Traditions * Women & Judaism

Proposals for 20 minute papers or panels comprising three papers should be emailed by 15 May 2014 to the organizers Sarah Lightman s.lightman.1@research.gla.ac.uk , and Heike Bauer h.bauer@bbk.ac.uk . Please include a 300-word abstract plus a short biographical note. You are welcome to submit images to supplement your abstract submission.

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The symposium is supported by JW3, The Jewish Daily Forward, Space Station 65, McFarland, Birkbeck College London, Stirling Maxwell Centre University of Glasgow, The Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies UCL and Studies in Comics (Intellect Publishing).

We are delighted to announce that Studies in Comics 6.2 (2015), guest edited by Sarah Lightman and Heike Bauer, will be specially dedicated to this conference.

 

21 Feb. 2014. Musical Inversions: Ethel Smyth

Ethel Smyth and her Old English Sheepdog, Pan: http://www.52composers.com/ethel-smyth.html

Ethel Smyth and her Old English Sheepdog, Pan: http://www.52composers.com/ethel-smyth.html

The queer past has an extraordinary sensory presence in the twenty-first century.  Last Wednesday, I went to an excellent event dedicated to the life and music of Ethel Smyth (1854-1944). Organised by the University of Surrey as part of LGBT History Month, the evening paid particular attention to the musical career of Smyth, a composer, writer, suffragette and dog lover whose ‘The March of the Women‘, written for the Women’s Social and Political Union, became the anthem of the British suffragette movement.

The event started off with an informative and entertaining talk by Dr Christopher Wiley on the relationship between Smyth’s music and her lesbianism – her most today best known relationship was with the famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. With the help of violinists Sophie Langdon, pianist Maureen Galea and members of the University of Surrey Chamber Choir, Wiley brought to life Smyth’s music. He demonstrated the breadth of Smyth’s oeuvre, which included, for example, operas, orchestral works and chamber music; and he also explained how the music reflected developments in Smyth’s own life such as her love for Elisabeth ‘Lisl’ von Herzogenberg, the wife of Smyth’s teacher, the composer and conductor Heinrich von Herzogenberg.

I was particularly interested to learn that one of Smyth’s early pieces, which was composed during her time with the von Herzogenbergs in Germany, makes use of a technique of ‘inversion’, here meaning that the closing notes appear in reverse order of the opening notes. While I have written a book on ‘inversion’, this is the first time that I have come across the use of the concept in a musical context.

‘Inversion’ emerged as a concept associated with what we would now call sexual identity in 1860s, in the affirmative writings on same-sex love by the Hanoverian lawyer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895). Ulrichs argued that men who desire men have ‘a female soul’ within their male body. Women who desire other women in turn were seen to have a ‘male soul’ inside their female body (it tells us something about the gendered contexts of these debates that Ulrichs felt prompted to note that he assumed that female same-sex love existed but did not personally know any women who love women).

While the terminology of the ‘invert’ would eventually give way in the early twentieth-century to the ‘lesbian’ and the ‘homosexual’, inversion itself has become one of the most pervasive concepts in modern debates about sexuality. Indeed, ideas about ‘mannish lesbians’ and ‘effeminate gay men’ continue to circulate quite widely in twenty-first century debates about sexuality.

Virginia Woolf and Dame Ethel Smyth. New York Public Library IMAGE ID: 484383

Virginia Woolf and Dame Ethel Smyth. New York Public Library IMAGE ID: 484383

Today, ‘inversion’ is often invoked as part of negative stereotyping. In the late 1870s and 1880s, however, when Ethel Smyth was falling in love with a woman in Germany while honing her skills as a composer, many women and men whose desires ran against the heterosexual grain happily self-identified as inverts. Most famously, perhaps, the rebellion against gender and sexual norms was expressed through dress – Virginia Woolf, Smyth’s unrequited love when the latter was in her early 70s, once described the composer’s dress affectionately as ‘tweeds and spats [with] a little cock’s feather in your felt, and a general look of angry energy’.

Chris Wiley’s talk has alerted me to the existence of a whole new dimension to modern sexual
Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 16.31.03politics. For Ethel Smyth’s composition suggests that sexuality and gender were reshaped in and through music as well as literature, art and politics. From now on, then, I will be listening out for Smyth’s musical inversions and the queer echoes that follow them across time.

 

6 Feb. 2014: Nazi Laws and Public Feelings

I’m currently grappling with the question of how to attend to the relationship between law, politics and everyday lives and feelings in the past?

There now exists a considerable amount of cultural and critical scholarship on the shape and shaping of ‘public feelings‘, especially in the present-day U.S., and about what Sara Ahmed has called the Cultural Politics of Emotions. These insights, in different ways, follow in the feminist tradition of challenging the divide between the public and private, the personal and the political.

Photo-0525This article on the ‘Nazi murder law that still exists‘ indicates the importance of such modes of inquiry even as it shows that the law can provoke public feelings that do not address the full extent of systemic injustices. The broad content of the article – that some of the legislation introduced by the Nazis has never been revoked – was not new to me. However, I had previously only looked at the legal history of Paragraph 175 and its variations, which criminalised homosexuality and remained in West Germany’s Criminal Code until unification in 1994 (I’m showing a movie from 1919 about the impact of this law next week. For more info click here).

It is disturbing that  – so many years after Nazi rule has come to an end – people who are tried for murder in the German courts are still subjected to laws that were introduced by a regime which actively pursued hate, discrimination and inequality, and which killed millions of people. Stephen Evans, the author of the piece, points out the gendered effects of the Nazi murder laws, which distinguish ‘murder’ from ‘manslaughter’ via a definition of ‘the murderer’ ‘as someone who killed “treacherously” or “sneakily” (“heimtueckisch” in German):

‘This means that a man who beats his wife over many years, finally killing her, is less likely to be convicted of murder, with a mandatory life sentence, than to be convicted of manslaughter, which may mean only five years in jail. The argument is that there was nothing “sneaky” or “treacherous” about the killing – it was frontal and direct and might have been expected.’

The article gives examples of how some convictions under this law caused public outrage in Germany, but it appears that these public debates largely focused on the individual cases rather than the fact that Nazi laws remain in place in contemporary Germany.

Aside from drawing attention to the very real legacies of Nazism and its twenty-first century presence – how can a state work through its past if its institutions retain the values of an atrocious regime? – these debates also raise questions about the role of the law in historical research. In the history of same-sex sexuality, which is the concern of my current project, changes in legislation – such as the introduction of Paragraph 175 in the newly formed German Empire or the Labouchere Amendment in Britain – clearly impact on individual lives. But my work on Hirschfeld’s private papers and public work has already taught me that the relationship between legal and political developments and ‘felt experience’ is fraught. For laws, while helping to define the conditions of possibility for individual and collective existence, only ever tell part of the story of what it feels like to live at certain moments in time.

This is why, for me, the tools of literary analysis and cultural criticism are so important. As verbal and visual representations are our bridge between the imagined and the real, paying attention to the narratives that shape a historical archive provides access to the lives and feelings of the women and men who inhabit it.

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30 Jan. 2014: Race. Sexuality. And The Same Old Gendered Order of Things?

I’m just beginning to read Chandan Reddy’s Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality and the U.S State (2011). The book critiques the way neoliberal societies (here: the U.S.) construct narratives of freedom around rights and anti-hate legislation that perpetuates state violence. Reddy ‘argues for modes of critique from the perspective of queers of colour, modes consciously and formatively tied in to critical ethnic studies. We might say,’ he writes, ‘that race is the political unconscious of sexuality, in its current mode as an amendment to twentieth-century orders of legitimate violence’ (p.17).

I have not yet read my way through the full extent of Reddy’s thought-provoking study, but I am particularly interested in exploring how his U.S.-focused insights translate into German and English contexts. For thinking about ‘race [as] the political unconscious of sexuality’ undoubtedly opens up important new perspectives on the relationship between colonialism and the political rights campaigns of early homosexual activists such as Magnus Hirschfeld, and it also raises fresh questions about the relationship between race and sexuality during the Nazi regime, and its legacies.

As always, I am also interested in locating questions of gender in these debates. Given Reddy’s focus on dismantling deeply entrenched power structures, I was taken aback to find that he uses the abbreviation ‘GLBTQ’ when discussing sexual subcultures and politics. In my experience of sexual debates in the U.K. the abbreviation is usually rendered ‘LGBTQ’. I too use ‘LGBTQ’, putting ‘lesbian’ first as a deliberate feminist challenge to the male primacy within patriarchal language.

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So why is ‘GLBTQ’ still in use? A quick internet search brought me to GLBTQ.com, an ‘encyclopaedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture’. In 2003, someone questioned the abbreviation on the site’s discussion forum, receiving the following response:

‘The G, L, B, T, and Q in our name are meant to convey a sense of unity while recognising the distinctive characteristics of the many groups that comprise our community. The order in which the letters appear is arbitrary, and is not intended to convey any historical or other priority for any particular group.’

This reply seems to me misguided. For the order of these letters is not ‘arbitrary’, but the product of a cultural unconscious that renders women second to men. Language and the unconscious have their own contingencies, of course. Could the use of GLBTQ versus LGBTQ be culturally specific, with the former more frequently used in the U.S.?

Feminist debates about language may not be particularly fashionable at the moment, but the question of where women – and gender – are located in political, socio-cultural and theoretical discourse remains absolutely central to any critique of power.