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Title: Different to the others : discourses of queer femininity and female desire in Amsterdam and Berlin (1918-1939)
Author: Sturgess, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 3712
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis explores the construction of queer feminine identities and desires in Amsterdam and Berlin in the two decades after 1918. Centralising textual narratives that focused on queer feminine women, this thesis attempts to redress the dearth of research on female-bodied femininities within queer historical narratives and shed new light on experiences that have traditionally been elided from discussions about the queer past. Framed by the thinking of queer philosophers and historians such as Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, and Laura Doan, this thesis employs queer historical methods to adjust the gendered lens of analysis across multiple discursive sites. Given the intensified interest in labelling desires at the end of the nineteenth century, the first section of this thesis plots the ways in which queer feminine women became available as objects of study in sexological writing about female same-sex desires. The chief focus of my analysis concerns the ways in which women in Berlin and Amsterdam became “present as subjects” through textual productions published for and about queer citizens in the German periodicals Die Freundin (1924-1933) and Frauenliebe (1926-1932) and the Dutch periodicals Wij (1932) and Levensrecht (1940-1947). The second part of this analysis will concern the dialogues that existed between medico-social discourses and queer literature. Looking first at the feminine “object” in Eva Raedt-de Canter’s Internaat (1930) and Christa Winsloe’s Das Mädchen Manuela (1933), this comparison will focus on the role of “mother-love” as well as protagonists’ own constructions of identity and desire. The final comparison will consider the ways in which maternalism is positioned as a specifically erotic concept to explore love between women in Anna Elisabet Weirauch’s trilogy Der Skorpion (1919-1931) and Josine Reuling’s Terug naar het eiland (1937). Examining the ways that the feminine woman is positioned as desiring subject and desired object in their novels, this thesis suggests that these narratives carve a space for queer “non-lesbian” subjects.
Supervisor: Bland, C. ; Louwerse, H. ; Bingham, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available