Benno Gammerl speaking at the IHR History of Sexuality Seminar on intersections between the histories of emotions and histories of homosexualities
Is the affective turn threatening to de-sexualize the queer past? Are future historians going to focus on love and marriage while neglecting desire and cruising? I will argue against such criticisms of an emotion-based approach to the history of homosexualities by sketching out the valuable insights it can generate. Based on interviews with same-sex desiring women and men born between 1935 and 1970 in West Germany, I will discuss how a focus on emotions productively complicates celebratory narratives that lead from pre-liberation shame to post-liberation pride. Attending to the affective dimensions of the past can furthermore help historians to understand how same-sex desire could be sensed and acted out even by young people in the 1950s and 1960s who could hardly follow any models for same-sex attraction in their early experiences. And finally, tracing how homophile, gay and lesbian activists navigated between a focus on sex and an allegedly opposing emphasis on feeling also proves a worthwhile endeavour for queer historians.
Dr Benno Gammerl is Lecturer in Queer History (DAAD Fachlektor) at Goldsmiths, University of London
Dates & times
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|5 Mar 2019||5:15pm - 7:30pm|
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