Tag Archives: history of sexuality

Join me for the

LAUNCH OF

The Hirschfeld Archives: Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture (Temple UP, 2017)

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Saturday, 2 December 2017, 5.30pm
Keynes Library
Birkbeck School of Arts
43 Gordon Square
London WC1 0PD

The launch will be preceded at 4.30pm by a public talk 
by Ashkan Sepahvand, curator of the exhibition Odarodle, which casts a postcolonial perspective on exhibiting sex at the Schwules Museum* Berlin. 

Free. Reserve a place here.

 

 

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History of Sexuality Reminar 2017-18

Have a look at the fantastic 2017-18 programme of the History of Sexuality Seminar at the IHR. Apart from the two public lectures, no booking is required.  Just turn up on the day.

SEMINAR SERIES IN THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY 

INSTITUTE OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH

2017-18 PROGRAMME

convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre

All seminars take place in the Pollard Seminar Room N301, unless otherwise stated. The Pollard Room is on the third floor of the main IHR building in Senate House.

Tuesday 10 October 5.15pm 

The Mythical Sexuality of La Goulue and La Casati

Will Visconti (University of Sydney)

Tuesday 7 November 5.15pm

Redefining “Normal” Child Sexuality: Encounters between Sexologists and Psychoanalysts at the fin de siècle

Katie Sutton (Australian National University)

Wednesday 29 November 6.00pm

Turing in Context: Sexual Offences in Cheshire in the 1950s [public lecture]

Chris Waters (Williams College)

NB: this public lecture takes place at the Clore Lecture Theatre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, and is part of the one-day conference Queer Lives Past and Present: Interrogating the Legal.  (www.raphael-samuel.org.uk/interrogating-the-legal/ )

Thursday 30 November, 2.00pm 

“The Prairies- Coming Out Strong”: Western Canadian Queer Communities, 1969-1985  [public lecture]

Valerie Korinek (University of Saskatchewan)

NB: this public lecture takes place at the Clore Lecture Theatre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, and is part of the Queer Localities conference (queerbeyondlondon.com/conference/)

Tuesday 5 December 5.15pm 

Rethinking Homology and Analogy of the Sexes in the Historiography of Sexuality

Alison Moore (Western Sydney University)

Tuesday 16 January 5.15pm

Wet-nurses, sexual restrictions and wage labour in Roman Egypt

April Pudsey (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Tuesday 13 February 5.15pm 

Lesbian Domesticities: Material structures of same-sex intimacy in post-war Britain and Australia

Rebecca Jennings (UCL)

Tuesday 13 March 5.15pm 

Rethinking sexual geography: ‘sexuality’ and European identity, c. 1550-1700

Nailya Shamgunova (University of Cambridge)

Tuesday 15 May 5.15pm

Purring Vaginas and Waggling Penises:  Sexting World War One

Nancy Christie (McMaster University)

Tuesday 12 June 5.15pm

The Discovery of Pleasure: Female Sexuality in Italy and West Germany in the long 1970s

Fiametta Balestracci (Queen Mary)

Convenors: Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln), Alison Oram (Leeds Beckett University), Craig Griffiths (Manchester Metropolitan University), Christopher M. Waters (Williams University), Heike Bauer (Birkbeck), Jana Funke (University of Exeter), Julia Laite (Birkbeck), Jane Mackelworth (Queen Mary), Justin Bengry (Goldsmiths), Claire Hayward (Kingston University), Matt Cook (Birkbeck), Sean Brady (Birkbeck), Sarah Toulalan (University of Exeter), Daniel Callwood (Queen Mary), Katherine Harvey (Birkbeck), Tommy Dickinson (King’s College London), Janet Weston (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Daniel Orrells (King’s College London).

http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminar/history-sexuality

Public talk on the sometimes deadly modern history of homosexuality

After a fantastic History of the Body conference at the IHR last Saturday, I’m now looking forward to discussing my research as part of the ‘Be Birkbeck‘ series on identity.

The talk is free, but you need to register to secure a place: bebirkbeck@bbk.ac.uk

‘Dead Wilde: Magnus Hirschfeld and the Violent Shaping of Modern Queer Culture’

Speaker: Heike Bauer

Venue: Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, WC1

Time: Weds, 27 May 2015. 6.30-8.30pm

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How did the death of Oscar Wilde impact on the women and men who identified with ‘the love that dare not speak its name’? This talk explores an archive of little known writings on homosexual death and suicide by the influential sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935).

Hirschfeld is best known today for his sexual rights activism, foundational studies of transvestism and opening of the world’s first Institute of Sexual Sciences in Berlin. But he was also a chronicler of the effects of hate and violence against lesbians and homosexual men. His writings contain many accounts of homophobic attack from around the world including observations on the trial and death of Oscar Wilde. These accounts suggest that such attacks had a wide-ranging impact, affecting not ‘just’ the victim but also the women and men who identified in some way with her or him.

The talk explores this unique record of queer life and death, 1900-1930. It demonstrates that violence, as well as affirmative cultural politics, shaped the emergence of modern sexual identity. The talk will also address the critical challenges of this archive: how to engage with the negative, and often violent, aspects of queer history without reinforcing pernicious stereotypes about miserable lesbian and gay existence?

17 Feb. 2014. And Again With Feeling: Thoughts on Different from the Others

ImageLast week, to mark LGBT History Month, I organised a screening of Anders als die Andern/ Different from the Others (dir. Richard Oswald), a film about homosexual blackmail produced in collaboration with Magnus Hirschfeld who also stars in it. The event was a great success, attracting a large audience which – perhaps prompted by an unexpected fair turn in the weather – occupied almost all the seats in the Birkbeck cinema.

A quick survey revealed that the majority of people in the audience were not professional academics. This was very welcome information, for a main aim of the evening was to bring sexuality scholars into dialogue with people from a wide range of backgrounds.

To kick-start debate after the screening, three wonderful Birkbeck panellists – Silke Arnold-de Simine (European Literatures and Cultures), Justin Bengry (History) and Daniel Monk (Law) – shared their insights into the film and its contexts. Together, we discussed a wide range of topics including, for example, the relationship between law and the everyday, the somewhat surprising cultural visibility of various gender and sexual identities in the early Weimar Republic, and the similarities as well as differences between British and German sexual politics.

Still from Anders als die Andern (dir. Richard Oswald, 1919)

As the discussion opened up to the audience, two questions were asked with particular frequency albeit in a range of guises: one focused on how the historical material relates to our understanding of gender and sexuality in the twenty-first century; and the other reflected on the extent to which any approach to this past is shaped by our own personal experiences and sense of self.

In some cases, the questioner’s focus was firmly on Magnus Hirschfeld himself, reminding me that for some gay men and transgender people in particular Hirschfeld occupies an iconic position in the struggle for rights, equality and a liveable life. While I am critically suspicious of such elevations – not least because I find them hard to reconcile with the more problematic aspects of Hirschfeld’s work such as his support for eugenics – I am nevertheless interested in what one might call ‘the felt impact’ of his work: his role in the construction of affirmative imaginaries that allow nonormative existence to be conceptualised in collective terms, terms that can be, but are not necessarily, tied to political action.

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Our discussion last Thursday showed that neither the biographical minutiae of Hirschfeld’s life nor ‘official’ narratives about sexuality, such as the ones told by law, can fully tell us what it felt like to live a queer life in the early twentieth century. But reading such narratives alongside cultural representations – such as Anders als die Andern – allows us to critique the ‘truths’ that are assigned by and about Hirschfeld across time. For, to adapt Virginia Woolf’s observation in A Room of One’s Own, such representations are ‘likely to contain more truth than fact’.

Anders als die Andern and the discussion that followed interrogated many ‘truths’ and ‘facts’ about bodies and desires. In so doing, the event also revealed the critical importance of feelings in discussions about gender and sexuality.

The next Fellowship event will be an academic symposium, Homophobia Rewritten. Click here for further details. The Call for Papers closes on 31 March 2014.