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20th Century Date: Wednesday, 3 February 2010 Call For Papers: Workshop Popular Sex: Media and Sexuality in Germany in the Early 20th Century To be held at the University of Calgary, 7-8 January 2011 (tentative dates) Organized by: - Annette Timm (University of Calgary) - Michael Thomas Taylor (University of Calgary) - Rainer Herrn (Institut für Geschichte der Medizin, Charité, and Magnus Hirschfeld Society) Due date for submission of abstracts: 15 March 2010. Please submit abstracts jointly to all three organizers at: <atimm[at]ucalgary.ca>, <mttaylor[at]ucalgary.ca>, <rainerherrn[at]gmx.de>. We envision a workshop of 8-12 people meeting over the course of two days. Papers will be pre-circulated and presentations brief to foster discussion. We welcome contributions from across disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The language of the conference will be English. Popular Sex: Media and Sexuality in Germany in the Early 20th Century Around the turn of the nineteenth century in Germany, sex got popular. Emerging social movements for sexual reform, for women, homosexuals, and transvestites made demands that increased public awareness of previously ignored social realities and drew attention to diverse "sexual" topics. And both the science of sexology (Sexualwissenschaft) and psychoanalysis accorded sexual discourse -- in the form of intimate confessions -- a public circulation and legitimacy unlike that evinced by earlier forms of pornography, titillating wares, or published discussions of sex. New themes included the emancipation of women, the decriminalization of homosexuality and transvetitism, new concerns about birth rates and education about venereal disease, the legalization of abortion, and not least of all sexually charged, eugenic notions of race and the Volk. These controversial public discussions formed the horizon for political scandals, for public accusations and trials, for political agitation and scientific propaganda, and for the commercialization of sex. Although governments continued to regulate the popularization of sex, it transformed notions of public and private, of sexual behavior and health, and of gender norms, and thus decisively contributed to the development of modern popular culture. We contend that a re-examination of this new popularity of sex in Germany will contribute significantly to understanding the origins of popular culture as a concept that is as ubiquitous in contemporary society and academic discourse as it is difficult to define. A growing body of recent work on the history of sexuality in Germany suggests the questions that we will ask. How did the popularization of sex both create and constrain possibilities for sexual expression and control? What role did it play in implementing policies in the spheres of eugenics, reproductive medicine and family welfare? Our focus will be on forms of public representation and media as vehicles of this popularization. This includes the question of how newspapers, journals, fiction, propaganda, public lectures, radio, and films popularized new categories of sexual identity and expression. But we also want to know what role the popularization of sex played in the development of these forms of public representation. While our main focus will be on the period around 1900 and the following decades, we are also interested in understanding how public discourse about sex before and after this period relate to the popular significance of sex in Germany. Our approach will be inter- disciplinary: we will attempt to foster a dialogue between approaches concerned with cultural history, with visual arts and film, with the history of science, and with media theory. Possible questions: -- How did the increasingly visual culture of this period relate to the mainly literary history of autobiography and confession out of which modern categories of sexuality emerged? -- How did movements for political emancipation and the new visibility of sexual subcultures, as well as the political reactions they provoked, alter or influence the development of public representation? -- What modes of censorship developed to regulate or prohibit the public representations of sex? Does this censorship redefine, challenge, or influence practices of censorship in general? -- How did conceptual analogies shared by discourses of sexuality and media -- such as production and reproduction or circulation and contact -- structure the sexualization of public representation and the popularization of sexual discourse? -- How did new discourses of sexuality in Germany influence advertising and commerce? What exactly does sex sell? -- Does this history of sexuality and popular culture offer a new perspective on the power of Fascist aesthetics and politics? -- In conclusion, how did the significance of sex for the development of public representation influence or change the meaning and function of "popular" culture itself? Annette Timm University of Calgary <atimm[at]ucalgary.ca>