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AfterThe History of Sexuality

AfterThe History of Sexuality: German Genealogies with and Beyond Foucault

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 318
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  • Book Info
    AfterThe History of Sexuality
    Book Description:

    Michel Foucault's seminalThe History of Sexuality(1976-1984) has since its publication provided a context for the emergence of critical historical studies of sexuality. This collection reassesses the state of the historiography on sexuality-a field in which the German case has been traditionally central. In many diverse ways, the Foucauldian intervention has governed the formation of questions in the field as well as the assumptions about how some of these questions should be answered. It can be argued, however, that some of these revolutionary insights have ossified into dogmas or truisms within the field. Yet, as these contributions meticulously reveal, those very truisms, when revisited with a fresh eye, can lead to new, unexpected insights into the history of sexuality, necessitating a return to and reinterpretation of Foucault's richly complex work. This volume will be necessary reading for students of historical sexuality as well as for those readers in German history and German studies generally who have an interest in the history of sexuality.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-374-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION. After The History of Sexuality? Periodicities, Subjectivities, Ethics
    (pp. 1-14)

    What comes after the history of sexuality? More a provocation than a question, the title of this volume points to a growing body of historical literature on sexuality in German-speaking lands that gets beyond a certain impasse its editors and authors have recognized in previous historical work on sexuality. In the same year that Foucault suggested that historians had engaged the category of sexuality in an uncritically self-evident way, his landmarkLavolonté de savoir(Will to Knowledge), published in French two years earlier, appeared in English translation asThe History of Sexuality,volume 1:An Introduction.That work made way for a...

  5. I. When Was Sexuality?: Rethinking Periodization

    • [SECTION I Introduction]
      (pp. 15-16)

      Michel Foucault was a historical thinker par excellence. Yet the same Foucault has frequently been faulted for the multiple, often contradictory, ways in which he deployed chronologies or temporal schemas—the very stuff from which histories are made. Even historians who have taken inspiration from his writings, methods, or concepts have found this aspect of his work lacking in rigor or in need of correction. To be sure, many of Foucault’s studies, essays, and lectures revolve around central moments of change toward the modern, discursive shifts that vary according to the particular problematic at hand, be it the history of...

    • CHAPTER 1 After the History of (Male) Homosexuality
      (pp. 17-30)

      “Gender history is here to stay” was the opening salvo Lynn Hunt once fired for all historians to take note.¹ Today there is much reason to say the same about the historiography on homosexuality. Writings on male and female homosexuality have flourished since the 1970s. Arguably, it is one of the history of sexuality’s prime movers. A stream of publications on hitherto neglected topics and unexplored geographies continues to reshape the contours of what we know of homosexual matters in history and how we come to know what is sexual in the first place. Gay and lesbian studies in history...

    • CHAPTER 2 Sexual Identity and Other Aspects of “Modern” Sexuality: New Chronologies, Same Old Problem?
      (pp. 31-42)

      The influence of Michel Foucault on the history of sexuality remains staggering.Only recently have a few scholars begun to suggest that we might finally be entering a “post-Foucauldian” period—“post,” that is, in the sense of “beyond” as well as “after”—noting a range of conceptual and methodological problems that have arisen because of the power of Foucault’s theories. I would like to focus on one of the best known of these, the notion that there was one clear break in the history of sexuality when either sexuality itself or “modern” sexuality was born, created, or discursively constructed (the operative...

    • CHAPTER 3 Interior States and Sexuality in Early Modern Germany
      (pp. 43-62)

      State-building in early modern Europe was based on a new order of the intimate, the “love laws” of Christian states that defined who was allowed to have sex with whom, when, and how this would affect their social privileges.¹ Classifications of what was legitimate or illegitimate sex underpinned state-building and its politics of shame, its rituals of inclusion and exclusion. Courts had to manage sex on an entirely different scale from that of the Middle Ages, and the language of domestic affect and sexuality was prominent in startling ways throughout society. Not only do we therefore have to challenge Foucauldian...

    • CHAPTER 4 Saying It with Flowers: Post-Foucauldian Literary History and the Poetics of Taboo in a Premodern German Love Song (Walther von der Vogelweide’s “Lindenlied”)
      (pp. 63-75)

      In Michel Foucault’s introductory volume to his discursive history of sexuality,La volonté de savoir(The History of Sexuality,vol. 1,An Introduction),he criticizes what he calls the “repressive hypothesis.” Victorian taboos, according to Foucault, did not silence speaking about sexuality, but rather enabled it in the first place: “There was installed rather an apparatus for producing an ever greater quantity of discourse about sex, capable of functioning and taking effect in its very economy.”¹ Taboos do not determinewhethersexuality is talked about, but ratherhowsexuality is talked about. They are a strategic instrument in the interplay...

    • CHAPTER 5 Early Nineteenth-Century Sexual Radicalism: Heinrich Hössli and the Liberals of His Day
      (pp. 76-90)

      From 1836 to 1838, Heinrich Hössli published a massive two-volume, roughly 650-page defense of sexual love between men, calledEros: Die Männerliebe der Griechen, ihre Beziehung zur Geschichte, Erziehung, Literatur und Gesetzgebung aller Zeiten(Eros: The Male Love of the Greeks, Its Relationship to the History, Pedagogy, Literature and Legislation of All Times). In this apology for same-sex desire, Hössli seemingly relies on concepts of sexuality that would be half a century too early if one were to take Foucault’s claims about the birth of the homosexual literally.¹ Because of this inconsistency—and frankly also because of the obscurity and...

  6. II. Whose Sexuality?: Subjectivity, Surveillance, Emancipation

    • [SECTION II Introduction]
      (pp. 91-94)

      Studies of sex in history—its social formations, the play of permissiveness and repression, its formal regulation, and so on—were not unknown, or even uncommon, before Foucault wrote theHistory of Sexuality.The radical innovation of the three-volume work was not the historical consideration of sex, but rather of the uniquely modern domain of sexuality, which bound together two “elements that do not usually fall within the historian’s practice or analysis”: these were the categories of the “subject” and “truth.”¹ The entire project can be seen as an illustration of the peculiar way in which we have come to...

    • CHAPTER 6 Anna Rüling, Michel Foucault, and the “Tactical Polyvalence” of the Female Homosexual
      (pp. 95-108)

      The writings of Michel Foucault have provided historians of sexuality with invaluable methodological and conceptual tools with which to read, analyze, and better understand their subject matter. Foucault’s conceptualization of the emergence of the sexual subject as the product of modern relations of “power-knowledge,” so provocatively elaborated inThe History of Sexuality, vol. 1:An Introduction,is especially helpful for students of the sexual reform movements of the early twentieth century.¹ Centrally, Foucault asserts that sexual subjectivity is not only the effect of a hegemonic, medico-scientific “will to knowledge,” but also the result of resistance on the part of sexual...

    • CHAPTER 7 To Police and Protect: The Surveillance of Homosexuality in Imperial Berlin
      (pp. 109-123)

      In February 1893, the Swedish playwright August Strindberg attended a homosexual ball at the Café National in Berlin, which he depicted in his short storyThe Cloister.¹ Referring to himself in third person as “the author,” Strindberg—accompanied by a Berlin “Police Inspector” and other friends—offers a revealing description:

      It was the most horrible thing he had ever seen. In order that a better check might be kept on them, the perverts of the capital had been given permission to hold a fancy-dress ball. When it opened everyone behaved ceremoniously, almost as if they were in a madhouse. Men...

    • CHAPTER 8 Soliciting Fantasies: Knowing and Not Knowing about Male Prostitution by Soldiers in Imperial Germany
      (pp. 124-138)

      By the end of the nineteenth century, a subculture organized around sex between civilian men and uniformed members of the armed forces arose in a number of major cities, including London, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, New York, and Berlin.¹ In his popular 1904 guidebook to gay Berlin,Berlins Drittes Geschlecht(Berlin’s Third Sex), Magnus Hirschfeld, a sexologist and leading figure in the modern homosexual emancipation movement, cites an informant who contends that “except in London … there is no city in the world with such a choice of soldiers from so many different branches of the military than in Berlin.”² Without...

    • CHAPTER 9 Between Normalization and Resistance: Prostitutes’ Professional Identities and Political Organization in Weimar Germany
      (pp. 139-155)

      In February 1922, more than sixty registered prostitutes (Kontrollmädchen) in Frankfurt am Main signed a petition to the Prussian district president in Wiesbaden protesting the planned closing down of their city’s licensed brothels. The petition highlighted the social misery prostitutes evicted from the brothels faced, “because the lengthy isolation has rendered most girls incapable of moving about freely in the streets.” Given the acute housing shortage and the police’s rigid restrictions on prostitutes’ choice of apartments, manyKontrollmädchenwould become homeless. The petitioners denied that they were exploited by their madams and stressed the brothels’ beneficial economic functions in generating...

    • CHAPTER 10 Writing Love, Feeling Shame: Rethinking Respectability in the Weimar Homosexual Women’s Movement
      (pp. 156-168)

      What can a group of formulaic love stories tell us about the history of homosexuality, gender emancipation, and the demise of the Weimar Republic? The periodicals published for an audience of homosexual women in the late 1920s and early 1930s included hundreds of fictional texts in which a protagonist is rescued from lonely isolation by finding her true love.¹ The stories celebrated the love of the couple as the meaning of homosexuality. In many ways, they reproduced the standard heterosexual romance as transformed during the early decades of the twentieth century from its bourgeois origins in re-anchoring marriage and family...

    • CHAPTER 11 Transsexual: Herculine Barbin Meets “Liebe Marta”
      (pp. 169-182)

      Even more than twenty-five years after Michel Foucault’s death in 1984—and longer still since his seminalHistory of Sexuality—any serious attempt to write histories of sexualities seems necessarily to depend more or less on the Foucauldian framework. That is not by chance, for without Foucault’s work it would have been almost impossible, or at least very difficult, not only to address the history of sexuality as an object of academic inquiry, but to do so with a critical stance vis-à-vis the traditionally assumed “naturalness” or anthropological “universality” of sexuality. Therefore, it is no small endeavor to try to...

  7. III. The Politics of Sexual Ethics

    • [SECTION III Introduction]
      (pp. 183-184)

      Foucault consistently taught his readers and listeners to be skeptical of programs for emancipation. He pointed out that struggles styling themselves as liberatory frequently set up new norms and ideals; incitements, he noted, could also be strictures. For those uncomfortable with the sexual revolution that swept the West from the 1960s and 1970s on, it became easy to invoke Foucault for moral authority when one did not want to sound like an old-fashioned stuffy moralist who simply had qualms about other people’s freedom (or one’s own). By the turn of the millennium, advocates for sexual freedom—whether they were proponents...

    • CHAPTER 12 Beyond Freedom: A Return to Subjectivity in the History of Sexuality
      (pp. 185-201)

      Recent years have seen an important development in the history of sexuality in central Europe and beyond, a development that could be described as a modification of the Foucauldian project. As early as 2005, Edward Ross Dickinson and Richard Wetzell identified a shift underway in their review essay inGerman History. According to Dickinson and Wetzell, Foucault’s influence, which once inspired historians to detect the disciplinary mechanisms that worked on and shaped—even “colonized,” in their words—the modern subject, has given way to a focus on the wiggle room that subjects have had in their negotiation of those disciplinary...

    • CHAPTER 13 Homosexuality in the Sexual Ethics of the 1930s: A Values Debate in the Culture Wars between Conservatism, Liberalism, and Moral-National Renewal
      (pp. 202-215)

      At the beginning of the 1930s, a shift toward a more authoritarian, conservative social and cultural politics took place in Germany. Accompanied by an economic crisis, political turbulence, and the rise of the National Socialists, the political aspect of this change has been described in many different ways.¹ Its cultural dimension, however, has received only cursory attention.

      A pathbreaking study entitledBerlin Alexanderplatz: Radio, Film, and the Death of Weimar Culturewas published in 2006 by Peter Jelavich. He did not interpret Hitler’s seizure of power as the decisive turning point for cultural politics, but rather dates the end of pluralistic...

    • CHAPTER 14 Socialist Eugenics and Homosexuality in the GDR: The Case of Günter Dörner
      (pp. 216-230)

      The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was an outlier in the otherwise ostensibly unified cluster of states that comprised the now defunct Eastern bloc. East German leaders might have claimed that they were moving shoulder to shoulder with their “big brother” in Moscow. But they allowed for a plethora of social reforms that to some extent have not yet been achieved even in today’s Russia, such as the depathologization of homosexuality and legalization of abortion.¹ At the same time, however, and as something of a countervailing tendency to these reforms, the government allowed doctors and scientists to pursue “socialist eugenics”—in...

    • CHAPTER 15 Sex, Sentiment, and Socialism: Relationship Counseling in the GDR in the Wake of the 1965 Family Law Code
      (pp. 231-247)

      The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 was, among other things, the product of a government that had serious reservations about the ongoing demographic viability of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Yet the Wall did not prove to be a panacea in this regard, since the GDR witnessed a declining marriage rate and an increase in the number of illicit abortions performed on younger women during the 1960s. During the first Continuing Education Conference for Problems Pertaining to Marital and Sexual Counseling, which was held in Rostock in October 1965, a certain Dr. Lungwitz projected that over the coming...

    • CHAPTER 16 Longing, Lust, Violence, Liberation: Discourses on Sexuality on the Radical Left in West Germany, 1969–1972
      (pp. 248-281)

      The present essay hopes to complicate an apparent certitude about the New Left sexual revolution of the 1960s. From the viewpoint of the 1990s, the slogan of sexual liberation was used in 1968 only as leverage against female comrades, in order to make it harder for them to say “no.” Furthermore, the later left-wing analysis of the ’68ers correlates strikingly with the bourgeois, anti–left-wing reception of 1968 with respect to sexuality. A more precise look into the tangle of voices, practices, theories, and actions should reveal that the line of contention was drawn not between compulsory bourgeois morality and...

  8. POSTSCRIPT. Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again
    (pp. 282-286)

    Germany in the first decade of the twenty-first century has returned to its early twentieth-century status as one of the most—if not the most—liberal and “sex-positive” cultures in the world. In some ways, Germany is more progressive now than it was a hundred years ago. The core trend is toward broad tolerance of diversity and strong defense of the ethical value of individual self-determination. This is evident in such phenomena as the nonchalance with which openly gay and lesbian politicians and cultural figures are accepted across the political spectrum while gay bathhouses, Christopher Street Day parades, and gay...

    (pp. 287-297)
    (pp. 298-301)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 302-310)