Germanic Languages | Gender and Sexuality in Germany
E321 | 26326 | Breger
Topic: Configuring Identity: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in the Modern
Ideas of gender, sexuality and race have deeply shaped the ways in
which European societies worked, and saw themselves, throughout
modernity. This class begins by tracing how and where these ideas
evolved historically: the claims that men and women are essentially
different, the use of sexuality as a marker of personal identity and
the force of racist distinctions between (implicitly: white) “Germans”
and “Blacks,” “Aryans” and Jews, or more recently (Christian) Germans
and Islamic immigrants. More specifically, we will then look at how
these different distinctions have worked together – and sometimes
against each other – in the processes of making (“configuring”)
The course draws on literature and film, as well as some theoretical
and scientific writings. Geographically, the emphasis is on German
culture within the larger contexts of Europe, post/colonialism and
globalization. Looking at different historical moments throughout the
20th and early 21st centuries, we discuss the impact of political and
social change, including the rise of fascism, post-war democratization
processes, feminist and sexual liberation movements.
The course is offered jointly for students in Germanic and Gender
Studies. Lectures and discussions are in English; all readings and
films are available in English or with English subtitles. The
scheduled film showing will take place as needed (roughly every other
or third week).
The majority of reading materials for this class will be available on
e-reserve. However, please order a copy of the following books, which
will be available through campus bookstores:
1. Foucault, Michel. A History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Vol. 1
(Paperback) Vintage 1990. ISBN-10: 0679724699. ISBN-13: 978-0679724698
2. Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice (Paperback). Harper Perennial 2005.
ISBN-10: 0060576170. ISBN-13: 978-0060576172.
3. Keun, Irmgard. The Artificial Silk Girl. Other Press 2002.
ISBN-10: 1892746816. ISBN-13: 978-1892746818.