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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Sociology
History
Gender Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Prerequisites: 

None

Contact Hours: 
45
Description: 

 

*IMPORTANT: This course is an International Affairs & Security Studies (12 for 12 for 12) course. Students on the Metropolitan Studies program can NOT take more than TWO 12 for 12 for 12 courses! This does not include German language courses.

This course examines key concepts, theories, and developments of the ‘politics of gender’ as played out in the history of Berlin from the 19th to the 21st centuries. We will explore how gender and sexuality influence various facets of life and therefore are important analytical categories in many academic disciplines. Every session will focus on a different subject area or medium, such as science, sociability, travel or film, and how it intersects with the field of gender studies. The course is structured along a historic axis, and looks at the politics of gender as it presented itself in Berlin’s history during successive periods – Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, WW II, the post-WW II period with West Germany and the GDR, unified Germany/contemporary Berlin.

Comparing Berlin to St. Petersburg and Istanbul will give further insights into the way place and time shape the cultural constructions of gender and sexuality and vice versa. A central question is: what do the respective gender politics of a society tell us about its self-image and values? We will ask, how gender roles are made and how they can be undermined. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach and students explore historical developments and theoretical concepts by using the city of Berlin as a classroom.

Attendance policy: 

Attendance at all IES Abroad courses is mandatory. Absences will only be excused with a doctor's note. Unexcused absences will negatively affect the grade for participation. Excessive absenteeism will negatively affect the final exam grade.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will have knowledge of:

  • Major concepts and topics of the politics of gender
  • German history from a comparative perspective 
  • Historical context and construction of gender norms
  • Important gender studies methodologies that are also relevant for their major (and minor) fields of research, e.g. breaking down dichotomies, going beyond preconceived notions and addressing topics in an open and innovative manner
Method of presentation: 
  • Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Field trips
  • Film screenings
  • Moodle will be used to enhance students' learning experiences
Field study: 
  • Istanbul
  • St. Petersburg
  • Otto Weidt Museum
  • Jewish Museum, Berlin
  • Schwules Museum, Berlin
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Participation & preparation: discussions, preparations for class and field trips - 20%
  • Midterm exam - 15%
  • Travel assignment (either Istanbul or St. Petersburg, 1.500 words) - 15%
  • Term (research) paper (presentation and documentation, 1.500 words) - 15%
  • In-class presentations (incl. moodle glossary entries) - 15%
  • Final exam - 20%

Presentations
Each student will present a concept/term and a biography that deal with gender, including preparing questions that lead into discussion. (5-10 min each).
Term/CONCEPT: see salon.
BIOGRAPHY: a personality that helped to shape the gender history of Berlin/Germany; you might choose one from the list or make suggestions of your own. Present & discuss the person’s relevance to Gender History/historical context of the session, including comments on the person’s reception so far and on your sources.
Presentations include visual material and your own theses. For the salon session please prepare a paper hand-out for your colleagues (1 page). The biographies and concepts also come together in a moodle - glossary.
Field research (term) paper
For the term paper every students is asked to do field research on German Gender Politics in a medium or field of your own choice. (f. e.:„Gender stereotypes in German TV“; „An Interview with my host mum“; „Berlin Nightlife from a Trans Perspective“… ). The results shall be documented in an appropriate form and presented in class. A comparative perspective is also appreciated.

content: 

Week

Content

Readings

Week 1

Systems, Scandals, Stereotypes – A Queer Introduction into German Gender Politics

“Snip it” – Circumcision in Germany

Excursion: Exhibit at the Jewish Museum Berlin

 
Week 2

 

Gender Politics and Sex Research around 1900

TOPIC: TransGender; Transsexuality; §175

BIOS: M. Hirschfeld, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, Harry Benjamin, Lily Elbe

QUESTIONS: How did Hirschfeld define transsexual and how is it defined today? How did Hirschfeld’s work become socially important?

Hirschfeld, Magnus. "Selections from The transvestites: the erotic drive to cross-dress." In The transgender studies reader, edited by Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle, 28-39.

Jens Richard Giersdorf: "Why does Charlotte von Mahlsdorf curtsy? Representations of National Queerness in a Transvestite Hero." In: GLQ (Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies) 12:2 (2006), 171-188.

Week 3

"I am my own Wife": Transgender Existence under Three Political Systems

EXCURSION to Charlotte von Mahlsdorf’s Home and Museum

BIOS: CvMahlsdorf, Heinrich Zille

QUESTIONS: How was transgender existence treated by the Weimar Republic/ National Socialism/GDR? In what respect can Transsexuality be seen as subversive?

Recommended: Charlotte von Mahlsdorf: "I am my own wife" (autobiography, in the library)
Week 4

From Prussia’s Pink Brains to the “New Woman” Women Politics and Women in Politics 1880-1920

TOPICS: First wave feminism; Political reform and sexual liberation in international comparison, Neurosexims, Antifeminism

BIOS: Hedwig Dohm, August Bebel, Alexandra Kollontai, Halide Edip, Clara Zetkin, Marlene Dietrich…

Patricia M. Mazón: "’Our Universities are Men’s Universities’. The Debate Over Women’s Admission 1865-1900". In: Mazón: Gender and the Modern Research University. The Admission of Women to German Higher Education, 1865-1914, Stanford 2003, 85-95, 106-114.

Andersson, Bonnie S./ Zinsser, Judith P: Chapters Feminist Socialism in Germany and Russia, in: Andersson/Zinnser: A History of Their Own. Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, Vol. II., 386-397.

Carol Schmidt: The 'New Woman' Gender Roles and Urban Modernism in Interwar Berlin and Shanghai. Journal of International Women's Studies, 2014, 15(1), 1-16.

Recommended: Alexandra Kollontai: The Autobiography of a sexually emancipated communist woman (1926).

Recommended: “New insights into gendered brain wiring, or a perfect case study in neurosexism?“ (4 Dec 2013).

Week 5 Harem Fantasies? - Perceptions of the (gendered) Other in the Media and Immigration Policy

Introduction: The Veil: Debating Citizenship, Gender and Religious Diversity, in: Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, Volume 15, Number 4, Winter 2008, pp. 397-410.

Gözde Naiboğlu: “‘Sameness’ in Disguise of ‘Difference’? Gender and National Identity in Fatih Akin’s Gegen die Wand and Auf der anderen Seite“, in: gfl-journal, No. 3/2010, pp- 75-98.

Watch on your own: Fatik Akin: “Auf der anderen Seite”/ „The edge of heaven“ (Movie, 2007)

Week 6

SALON GENDER - History and Methodology Studies

TOPIC: Gender Debate and Gender Role Play in Salons of the 18th-21st centuries; Construction and Analysis of Gender Concepts

BIOS: Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Mary Wollstonecraft, Gertrude Stein… Student presentations on Gender Concepts

QUESTIONS: What was a salon and which opportunities gave it to women? How were salons related to Gender Debates? Where and when was/is your chosen Gender concept a helpful instrument for analysis

Midterm Week

YOUR chosen Concept of: Pilcher, Jane, and Imelda Whelehan. Fifty keyconcepts in gender studies, SAGE key concepts. London: SAGE, 2004. "Body, Cyborg, Dichotomy, Difference, Domestic Division of Labour, Essentialism, First Wave Feminism, Other, Patriarchy, Pornography, Power, Public/Private, Queer Theory, Race/Ethnicity, Reproduction, Second Wave Feminism, Stereotype, Third Wave Feminism."

Andersson, Bonnie S./ Zinsser, Judith P: Chapter "Women in the Salons". In: Andersson/Zinnser: A History of Their Own. Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, Vol. II., 103-117.

Week 7 Excursion to Istanbul (travel research)  
Week 8

Berlin 1936 – Fascist Aesthetics and Body Politics

TOPIC: Body- and Fertility Politics in NS Germany and their visual representations

BIOS: Leni Riefenstahl, Regina Jonas, Veit Harlan…

Gender, Race and Political Intervention

Walking tour in Berlin-Mitte; Visit to Otto Weidt Museum

BIOS; Inge Deutschkron, (Regina Jonas), Margarete von Trotta

QUESTIONS: In what sense did biology become destiny? In what way supported propagating the "Aryan body" the racist ideology?

Bridenthal, Renate, Atina Grossmann, and Marion Kaplan. "Introduction: women in Weimar and Nazi Germany." In When biology became destiny: women in Weimar and Nazi Germany, edited by Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossmann and Marion Kaplan, 1-32. New York 1984.

Adelheid von Saldern: Innovative Trends in Women’s and Gender Studies of the National Socialist Era, in: German History 2009, vol. 27, p. 84-102

Watch movie on your own: "Olympia" (part one, opening, on moodle)

Recommended: Margarete von Trotta“ Rosenstraße“ (movie, in the library)

Week 9

Mother Russia and Father State?

Gender and Political Iconography

TOPIC: Gender and Power in Russia and the Soviet Union 1917ff/2014ff BIOS: Katherine the Great, Vladimir Putin, FEMEN, Pussy Riot

Queer Space – Displaying difference or diversity?

Changing Attitudes for Tomorrow?

Excursion to the Gay Museum/* Schwules Museum Berlin

BIOS: Klaus Wowereit…, N.N (Artist of recent exhibit at the Museum)

QUESTIONS: Where and when did women become visible in Russian/Soviet History? Why was it difficult to implement gender as a category in Russian Academic Life? What do the recent gender policies tell you about the Russian ideal of fe/maleness?:

Russian LGBT Network: Report 2012

Korovushkina, Irina. "Paradoxes of Gender: Writing History in Post- Communist Russia 1987-1998." In Gender and history: retrospect and prospect, edited by Leonore Davidoff, Keith McClelland and Helene Varika.

FEMEN Website

CLIP: PUSSY RIOT- The Story so far

Recommended: Website of the Russian LGBT Network

Recommended Readings: Dereka Rushbrook: Cities, Queer Space and the Cosmopolitan Tourist, in: GLQ 2007, vol. 8, 1-2, pp. 183-206. (on moodle)

Week 10 Excursion to St. Petersburg (travel research)  
Week 11

"Models or Misfits”

Gender in the Cinema of divided Germany

TOPICS: Film as mirror or participant of German (Gender) History; Dissident Identities and Gay Politics

BIOS: Heiner Carow, Rosa von Praunheim, Helke Sander

German Sex and Gender politics

Students’ presentation of field research

QUESTION: In what ways can movies comment on gender politics? What does the gender discussion in DEFA-movies tell you about room for manoeuvre in the GDR?

Rinke, Andreas. "From Models to Misfits: Women in DEFA Films of the 1970s and 1980s." In DEFA: East German cinema, 1946-1992, edited by Sean D. Allan and John Sandford

David Brandon Dennis: “Coming Out into Socialism, Heiner Carow’s Third Way.” In: Terry Ginsberg/Andrea Mensch: A Companion to German Cinema 2012, pp.55-65, 74-77.

Watch film on your own (one at least): DEFA movie "Paul & Paula" / “Coming out”

Recommended: "Der Dritte" / * "Coming out"/”Solo Sunny” (movies, in the library) Wolfgram, Mark A.: Gendered Border Crossings: The Films of Division in Divided Germany." In: symploke vol.15, 1-2 (2007), 152-169 (on moodle)

Week 11 Final Exams  
Required readings: 
  • Hirschfeld, Magnus. "Selections from The transvestites: the erotic drive to cross-dress." In The transgender studies reader, edited by Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle, 28-39.
  • Jens Richard Giersdorf: "Why does Charlotte von Mahlsdorf curtsy? Representations of National Queerness in a Transvestite Hero." In: GLQ (Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies) 12:2 (2006), 171-188.
  • Patricia M. Mazón: "’Our Universities are Men’s Universities’. The Debate Over Women’s Admission 1865-1900". In: Mazón: Gender and the Modern Research University. The Admission of Women to German Higher Education, 1865-1914, Stanford 2003, 85-95, 106-114.
  • Andersson, Bonnie S./ Zinsser, Judith P: Chapters Feminist Socialism in Germany and Russia, in: Andersson/Zinnser: A History of Their Own. Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, Vol. II., 386-397.
  • Carol Schmid: The 'New Woman' Gender Roles and Urban Modernism in Interwar Berlin and Shanghai. Journal of International Women's Studies, 2014, 15(1), 1-16.
  • Introduction: The Veil: Debating Citizenship, Gender and Religious Diversity, in: Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, Volume 15, Number 4, Winter 2008, pp. 397-410
  • Gözde Naiboğlu: “‘Sameness’ in Disguise of ‘Difference’? Gender and National Identity in Fatih Akin’s Gegen die Wand and Auf der anderen Seite“, in: gfl-journal, No. 3/2010, pp- 75-98.
  • Pilcher, Jane, and Imelda Whelehan. Fifty keyconcepts in gender studies, SAGE key concepts. London: SAGE, 2004. "Body, Cyborg, Dichotomy, Difference, Domestic Division of Labour, Essentialism, First Wave Feminism, Other, Patriarchy, Pornography, Power, Public/Private, Queer Theory, Race/Ethnicity, Reproduction, Second Wave Feminism, Stereotype, Third Wave Feminism."
  • Andersson, Bonnie S./ Zinsser, Judith P: Chapter "Women in the Salons". In: Andersson/Zinnser: A History of Their Own. Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, Vol. II., 103-117.
  • Bridenthal, Renate, Atina Grossmann, and Marion Kaplan. "Introduction: women in Weimar and Nazi Germany." In When biology became destiny: women in Weimar and Nazi Germany, edited by Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossmann and Marion Kaplan, 1-32. New York 1984.
  • Adelheid von Saldern: Innovative Trends in Women’s and Gender Studies of the National Socialist Era, in: German History 2009, vol. 27, p. 84-102.
  • Russian LGBT Network: Report 2012
  • Korovushkina, Irina. "Paradoxes of Gender: Writing History in Post- Communist Russia 1987-1998." In Gender and history: retrospect and prospect, edited by Leonore Davidoff, Keith McClelland and Helene Varika.
  • Rinke, Andreas. "From Models to Misfits: Women in DEFA Films of the 1970s and 1980s." In DEFA: East German cinema, 1946-1992, edited by Sean D. Allan and John Sandford
  • David Brandon Dennis: “Coming Out into Socialism, Heiner Carow’s Third Way.” In: Terry Ginsberg/Andrea Mensch: A Companion to German Cinema 2012, pp.55-65, 74-77.

Films:

  • DEFA movie "Paul & Paula" / “Coming out”
  • Fatik Akin: “Auf der anderen Seite”/ „The edge of heaven“ 2007
  • "Olympia" (part one, opening, on moodle) 
  • CLIP: PUSSY RIOT- The Story so far

Website: