Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-10-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Against the late nineteenth-century European trend of theoretical elaborations of negative homosexual stereotypes and the legal persecution of homosexuals, German sexologist, Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) introduced a scientific and humanistic approach to homosexual emancipation. Radical from the outset, his pioneering theorizations of gender overturned the dual sex system and revealed the artificiality of gender. Beyond destabilizing traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity and substantiating the naturalness of such phenomena as homosexual, intersexed, and transgendered identities, Hirschfeld deployed his theories to serve as the basis of a steadfast and influential campaign for the decriminalization of homosexuality and an international sexual freedom movement that championed the principal causes of the womenrs"s movement and the rights of all sexual minorities. Integrating the predominant cultural, scientific, and political discourses during Hirschfeldrs"s lifetime, Elena Mancini illuminates his cosmopolitan and classical liberal political and cultural stance, showing him as more than a homosexual theorist and activist. This fascinating study shows how his opposition to fascism and to all forms of sexual and racial hierarchies makes him a humanist for our times and an inspiration for those who strive for social and political inclusion and tolerance.

Author Biography

Elena Mancini received her Ph.D. in German Studies from Rutgers University. She has taught at Hunter College, Montclair University, and Rutgers, and is the Culture Editor for Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Early Years and Cultural Contextp. 1
Hirschfeld's University Years, Early Travels, and Encounters with the Literary Worldp. 17
Urban Culture and Homosexualityp. 25
Jewish Identity and Medicinep. 28
Evolution of Hirschfeld's Scientific Outlookp. 31
Research Methods and Philosophyp. 31
Hirschfeld and the Importance of Sexologyp. 37
The Third Sex Theory and its Cultural and Scientific Receptionp. 46
Sexual Intermediacy and Transvestitismp. 61
Hirschfeld and Psychoanalysisp. 71
Hirschfeld and Degeneracyp. 78
Hirschfeld as a Clinicianp. 83
Politics, War, and Activismp. 87
Hirschfeld, the Social Democrats, and Wilhelmine Sexual Politicsp. 91
Homosexuality and the Politics of Effeminacy in Wilhelmine Germany: The Liebenberg Affairp. 94
Misogyny and the Anti-feminist Substrate of Homophobiap. 102
Hirschfeld and the Women's Movementp. 108
Hirschfeld and World War Ip. 110
The Weimar Yearsp. 113
The Ernst Röhm Affairp. 127
Panhumanistic Cosmopolitianism, Exile, and Final Yearsp. 133
World Voyage and Sexual Ethnographyp. 133
Jewish Identity and Race Discoursep. 136
Exile and Final Yearsp. 139
Epiloguep. 143
Chronology of Hirschfeld's Lifep. 151
On Paragraph 175: A History of Germany's Anti-homosexual Lawp. 153
Notesp. 157
Bibliographyp. 189
Indexp. 197
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