Sex, Sciences and the Arts (MLG3040)

StaffDr Ina Linge - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module invites you to explore the ways in which modern concepts of sex, gender and sexuality are co-created at the nexus of the sciences and the arts in the German-speaking regions in the period from the 1890s to the 1930s. You will familiarise yourself with a broad range of German-language sources, including key literary texts and authors, visual material, including film, and scientific publications. You will be introduced to interdisciplinary methods in the study of modern languages and cultures. In particular, we will draw on gender and sexuality studies and literature and science studies to understand how literature, science and the arts came together to construct knowledge about sex, gender and sexuality.

This module will enable you to gain valuable employment skills, including independent research, team-work, critical analysis of complex information, inter-cultural competence. This module will also give you the opportunity to learn archival and digital skills, from the use of electronic resources to online publications and online curation. This module will give you the confidence to understand the vital role that you, as a humanities student, can take in questioning and reimagining dominant social values and cultural constructs in our world today.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary relationship between sciences and the arts
  • 2. Demonstrate insight into historical and critical understandings of concepts of sex, gender and sexuality
  • 3. Produce formal, thematic and generic analyses of literature and visual culture in their scientific, cultural and political contexts in their relationship to issues of gender and sexuality

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Draw productively on the recommended secondary literature and make confident use of critical tools and theoretical concepts to enrich analysis
  • 5. Analyse historical scientific texts, literature, film, photography and visual culture in a variety of genres and styles
  • 6. Demonstrate independent research skills

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Construct a critical, coherent and substantiated argument in writing, discussions or presentations
  • 8. Conduct self-guided research and manage your own time effectively

Syllabus plan

Some or all of the following topics may be covered in this module:

  • Sexology and autobiography;
  • Psychiatry and the novella;
  • Psychoanalysis and feminism;
  • Endocrinology and rejuvenation;
  • Sexual anthropology and ‘colonial normality’;
  • Medicine and the erotic: the medical vs. the aesthetic gaze;
  • The ‘Aufklärungsfilm’ (sexual enlightenment film) &‘useful cinema’ between aesthetics and education;
  • Natural history, sexuality and the non-human in horror fiction.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching151 hour 30 minute seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial
Guided Independent Study134Private study and seminar preparation; research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan750 words1-8Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Blog post (to be written in the course of the term) 25500 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay752500 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Blog post (to be written in the course of the term)Blog post 1-8Referral/deferral period
EssayESsay1-8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Prescribed reading set texts will be drawn from:

Primary reading:

*available in English translation

Sexual Sciences:

  • *Chapters from Sexology Uncensored: The Documents of Sexual Science, ed. Lucy Bland and Laura Doan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), incl. ‘Sex and Character (1903) by Otto Weininger’, ‘The Sexual Life of Our Time (1907) by Iwan Bloch’, ‘Racism (1938) by Magnus Hirschfeld’.
  • *Sigmund Freud, Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie/Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905)
  • *Magnus Hirschfeld’s Berlins drittes Geschlecht/Berlin’s Third Sex (1904).


  • *Oskar Panizza, ‘Ein skandalöser Fall’/‘A Scandal at the Convent’ (1893)
  • *N.O. Body, Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren [A Man’s Maiden Years] (1907)
  • *Thomas Mann, Tod in Venedig (1912)
  • *Hanns Heinz Ewers, Ameisen (1925)
  • *Arthur Schnitzler, Traumnovelle (1926), Fräulein Else (1924)
  • *Vicki Baum, Stud. Chem. Helene Willführ/Helene(1928)


  • *Oswald, Richard, dir., Anders als die Andern (1919)
  • *Sagan, Leontine, dir., Mädchen in Uniform/Girls in Uniform(1931)

Visual Culture:

  • Selected images supplied by module convenor

Selected secondary reading:

  • Acland, Charles R., and Haidee Wasson (eds.). Useful Cinema. Duke University Press, 2011.
  • von Ankum, Katharina. “Motherhood and the ‘New Woman’: Vicki Baum's Stud. Chem. Helene Willfüer and Irmgard Keun's Gilgi: Eine Von Uns.” Women in German Yearbook, vol. 11, 1995.
  • Bauer, Heike (ed.). Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters across the Modern World. Temple University Press, 2015.
  • Bauer, Heike. The Hirschfeld Archives: Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture. Temple University Press, 2017.
  • Craig, Robert, and Ina Linge, “Introduction”, in Biological Discourses: The Language of Science and Literature Around 1900 (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017).
  • Foucault, Michel. The Will to Knowledge: The History of Sexuality vol. I., trans. R. Hurley. Penguin Books, 1998[1976].
  • Fuechtner, V., Haynes, D.E., Jones R.M. (eds). Towards a Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1960. University of California Press, 2018.
  • Funke, Jana, and Fisher, Kate. “Sexual Science Beyond the Medical.” Lancet, vol. 387, 2016.
  • Herrn, Rainer, and Christine N. Brinckmann. “Of Rats and Men: Rejuvenation and the Steinach Film.” In: Not Straight from Germany: Sexual Publics and Sexual Citizenship since Magnus Hirschfeld, ed. Michael T. Taylor, Annette Timm, and Rainer Herrn, University of Michigan Press, 2017.
  • Kahan, Benjamin. The Book of Minor Perverts: Sexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality. University of Chicago Press, 2019.
  • Leng, Kirsten. Sexual Politics and Feminist Science: Women Sexologists in Germany, 1900-1933. Signale, 2018.
  • Linge, Ina. ‘Gender and Agency between Sexualwissenschaft and Autobiography: The Case of N.O. Body’s Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren’, vol. 68, no. 3, 2015.
  • Linge, Ina. “Sexology, Popular Science and Queer History in Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others).” Gender and History, vol. 30, no. 3, 2018.
  • Makela, Maria. "Rejuvenation and Regen(d)eration: Der Steinachfilm, Sex Glands, and Weimar-Era Visual and Literary Culture." German Studies Review, vol. 38 no. 1, 2015.
  • Malakaj, Ervin. “Richard Oswald, Magnus Hirschfeld, and the possible impossibility of hygienic melodrama”, Studies in European Cinema, vol. 14, no. 3, 2017.
  • Marhoefer, Laurie. Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis. University of Toronto Press, 2015.
  • Peters, Kathrin. “Anatomy is Sublime: The Photographic Activity of Wilhelm Von Gloeden and Magnus Hirschfeld.” In: Not Straight from Germany: Sexual Publics and Sexual Citizenship since Magnus Hirschfeld, ed. Michael T. Taylor, Annette Timm, and Rainer Herrn, University of Michigan Press, 2017.
  • Prickett, David J. “Envisioning the Homosexual: Gender Performance, Photography, and the Modernist Homosexual Aesthetic.” In Performance and Performativity in German Cultural Studies, ed. Carolin Duttlinger and others. Peter Lang, 2003.
  • Smith, Camilla. “Challenging Baedeker Through the Art of Sexual Science: an Exploration of Gay and Lesbian
  • Subcultures in Curt Moreck’s Guide to ‘Depraved’ Berlin (1931).” Oxford Art Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, 2013.
  • Sutton, Katie. “Sexology’s Photographic Turn: Visualizing Trans Identity in Interwar Germany.” Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 27, no. 3, 2018.
  • Tobin, Robert D. Peripheral Desires: The German Discovery of Sex. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.
  • Webber, Andrew J. “Psychoanalysis, Homosexuality and Modernism.” In The Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian Writing, ed. Hugh Stevens. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Whisnant, Clayton J. Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History 1880-1945. Harrington Park Press, 2016.

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Key words search

Sexuality, Gender, Literature, Sexology, Visual culture, Magnus Hirschfeld, Sigmund Freud