Uniform TitleA brighter shade of pink: Magnus Hirschfeld, the third sex, and the sexual freedom movement in Germany
NameMancini, Elena (author), Bronner, Stephen (chair), Naqvi, Fatima (internal member), Rennie, Nicholas (internal member), Snyder, R. Claire (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School-New Brunswick,
Hirschfeld, Magnus, 1868-1935
DescriptionQueer had a voice long before it became an avowed identity position in the late twentieth century. That voice belonged to Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935). Renowned mostly for his pioneering work as a sexologist and a gay rights activist, Hirschfeld embodied a liberal democratic ethic that allowed him to make significant contributions to some of the most pressing social issues of the late Wilhelmine and Weimar period. He devoted his life to sexual reform and social justice. Homosexuality, abortion rights, women's suffrage, the philosophical and political abolition of racism, and cultural cosmopolitanism were among the causes he embraced.
Grounded in a cultural-historical approach that is sensitive to the significance of Hirschfeld's theoretical contributions and political advocacy for sexual equality, this study seeks to challenge the notion that the practical concerns of the gay and queer community are best served by queer theory. Taking issue with many queer theorists' all too facile dismissal of the emancipatory values of tolerance and Enlightenment universals in favor of the privileging of difference and narrow identity groups, my dissertation
argues that a repudiation of Enlightenment universalism, most specifically the value of tolerance, will not advance the practical concerns--gay marriage, protection against hate crimes and full social and political enfranchisement--of the queer and gay community but rather ultimately lead such groups into a rights-deprived cul-de-sac. Far from advocating compromise or conformity within the queer community, my argument calls for a shift in emphasis and priorities within it that privileges equality and basic civil rights before defining narrow identity group interests. By illuminating Hirschfeld's coalitionist ethic--he formed crucial alliances with leaders of the Social Democratic Party and key organizers of minority group movements--cultural engagement, humanism and social outreach, my work not only recovers a significant piece of queer history but also furnish an ethos for the realization of practical goals within the queer community that has the potential of transforming current prejudices toward alternative sexual identities.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 184-188).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.