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Unit information: German Bodies: Sex and the Body in Twentieth Century Germany (Level I Special Field) in 2016/17

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Unit name German Bodies: Sex and the Body in Twentieth Century Germany (Level I Special Field)
Unit code HIST20090
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. McLellan
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

Special Field Project

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit will explore the history of the body and its representations in twentieth century Germany. Moving chronologically, it will interrogate how the various iterations of the German state shaped ideas about what constituted a healthy and productive body and how ideas of the body changed over the course of the tumultuous twentieth century. How did discussions and images of the soldier’s body change from the First World War to the Second, and how did Nazi ideology work to glorify certain bodies at the expense of others? Who faced persecution based on race and sexuality? What happened after 1945, in the face of German defeat and the delegitimisation of Nazism? Were ideals of the socialist body in East Germany, different from the expectations in the West? Paying close attention to the significance of concepts of gender, sexuality and race to definitions of what makes a body productive and healthy, we will ask why controlling the body mattered to Germany and to what extent the body and its representations were used as a way of projecting anxieties about war, politics, and social change?

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1) Demonstrate their understanding of the history of the body and its representations in twentieth century Germany

2) Critically assess existing historical interpretations, and develop their own independent arguments

3) Synthesise and evaluate primary sources to build wider arguments

4) Demonstrate their ability to express their ideas in writing with a competence appropriate to level I/5.

Teaching details

One 2-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

One 2 hour exam (100%), which will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

  • Ernst Friedrich, War Against War (1923)
  • Leni Riefenstahl, Olympia (film and photographs)
  • August Sander, People of the Twentieth Century (2002)
  • Elizabeth Heineman, What Difference Does a Husband Make? Women and Marital Status in Nazi and Postwar Germany (1999)
  • Dagmar Herzog, Sex After Fascism (2005)
  • Dagmar Herzog (ed.), Sexuality and Nazism (2004)

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