Skip to main content

Sex and Identity in German Cultures

This module explores how literature, film and other aesthetic discourses have shaped and critically reflected gender and sexual identity in Germany. Topics covered will include sexual orthodoxy, repression, emancipation, queerness, performativity, and intersectionality, and lectures will draw on major theorists including Sigmund Freud, Otto Weininger, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Kimberlé Crenshaw and Judith Butler. The construction of gender identity, and the critique of sex-gender systems, will be explored through a range of materials.

Term 1

Our work this term will focus on the social construction of sexual identity. We will examine scholarly debates regarding the historical and cultural specificity of the category “homosexuality” (and of other LGBTQ identities). The social recognition of LGBTQ identities will be examined as contingent on cultural trends that prospered in the German-speaking world. Those will include the rise of modern science, technology, and psychoanalysis; Weimar Republic’s cinema; anti-Semitism; feminism; and the afterlives of German fascism.

Term 2

Through an engagement with contemporary literature and film, and in dialogue with a range of theoretical texts, we will study the role of cultural production in the representation, construction, and interrogation of gender and sexuality. Topics include (pop-)feminism; sex and power; institutions of (hetero-)normativity; queerness; and intersectionality. 

Materials likely to be studied in Term 2:

  • Charlotte Roche. Feuchtgebiete (excerpts) 
  • Missy Magazine (selection of articles) 
  • Lina Muzur (ed.). Sagte sie. 17 Erzählungen über Sex und Macht (selection) 
  • Uisenma Borchu (dir.). Schau mich nicht so an 
  • Olga Grjasnowa. Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe

Coordinators:  Dr Yael Almog and Dr Alexis Radisoglou

Further details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment.