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Photo of Dr Ina Linge

Dr Ina Linge

Lecturer in German


01392 724416

My current research focuses on the interrelation between sexual sciences and European (especially German-language and British) literature, visual culture and performance in the late 19th and early 20th century. My most recent publications include an article on the importance of intersex butterfly experiments for German sexologists in the 1920s (History of Human Sciences, 2020), an article on the relationship between sexology and film (Gender and History, 2018), and the co-edited volume Biological Discourses: The Language of Science and Literature Around 1900 (2017).

I joined the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures as Lecturer in German (E&R) in 2020. At Exeter, I am also affiliated with the Centre for Medical History and the Sexual Knowledge Unit. From 2017-2020 I was a member of the Wellcome Trust-funded Rethinking Sexology project. I also co-founded and co-convene the Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Theory Reading Group with geographer Dr Rich Gorman.

Key interests:

  • Gender, transgender and sexuality studies
  • Queer and literary theory
  • Medical humanities
  • Literature and science studies
  • Life writing, diary and autobiography
  • Film studies (especially films circulated beyond the commercial movie theater)
  • Animal studies
  • Environmental humanities

I tweet as @drinalinge


Profile photo credit: Diana Patient

Research interests

I am currently working on two projects related to my interest in the relationship between sexual sciences and European (especially German-language and British) literature, visual culture and performance in the late 19th and early 20th century:


‘The Politics of Sexual Nature: Sexology, Animals and the Arts (1862-1935)’ (2017-present)

In this project, I investigate the role of animals as well as concepts of nature and naturalness in the development of modern concepts of sex, gender and sexuality in Britain and the German-speaking world. I will investigate medico-scientific texts, as well as cultural, literary and visual sources, in order to explore how non-human animal bodies, behaviours and metaphors are used to develop and challenge changing ideas about the nature of sex, gender and sexuality in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Europe. I aim to show that attempts to naturalise sexuality through animal research do not necessarily incorporate sexuality into a normalising and normative system of reproduction, purity and health, but into more complex ecological systems of desire, fluidity and dissolving boundaries (e.g. nature/culture, human/animal).

My work so far has focused on how moths and butterflies (in particular of the intersex type) have been used in the sexological discourse of the 1920s to argue for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and how sexology has been inspired by performances of the Butterfly Dance, which (I argue) proposes a vision of sexual nature that is not pastoral and cannot be co-opted straight-forwardly into a political project. Future work will focus on the importance of ants, toads and slugs (and more) in the production of sexual knowledge.


Narrating Queer Liveability: Sexual Sciences and the Writing of the Self, 1900s-1930s and Beyond (2012-present)

I am currently in the final stages of finishing this project, which comes out of my doctoral research conducted at the University of Cambridge (2012-2016). This study focuses on German-language sexological and psychoanalytic life writings from the early twentieth century and takes the existing research in the history and literature of gender and sexuality in new directions: (a) the book significantly extends research into the interdisciplinarity of German sexual sciences; (b) it goes beyond the dominant voices of German modernism and pays crucial attention to the subaltern literary voices of sexological and psychoanalytic patients of non-normative gender and sexuality; and (c) it opens up a better understanding of the shared tradition of sexology and psychoanalysis as related approaches to the study of human sexuality. This monograph will present original archival research and many of the primary texts studied have never been discussed in English-language publications. In this study, I argue that an analysis of such overlooked texts is central to our understanding of the development of a modern sense of sexual subjectivity. By bringing to bear gender, queer and literary theory to illuminate the intersection between literature and medico-scientific discourses, this book demonstrates that sexological and psychoanalytic life writers are not objective observers, but active participants in the creation and critique of sexual knowledge in the modern world.


Selected talks:

Invited Keynotes and Plenary Papers

  • 2018    Plenary Panel “Pitching the Discipline: Where is German in 2018?” Association for German Studies annual conference, Bangor University.
  • 2017    Keynote Lecture “‘Love for Every Taste’: Sexual Sciences and the Department Store in Early-twentieth-century German Life Writing”, Postgraduate Medical Humanities conference, University of Exeter.


Invited Paper

  • 2019    “Narrating Human-animal Sexual Nature around 1920: Richard Goldschmidt, Magnus Hirschfeld and Hanns Heinz Ewers”, Narrative Science in Techno-environments: Integrating History of Science with Environmental History and Humanities, LSE.
  • 2018    “The Potency of the Butterfly: Gender, Sexuality and Non-human Animals in German Sexology and the Arts after 1900”, Warwick Workshop for Interdisciplinary German Studies, Warwick University.
  • 2016    “Life Writings and Sexual Sciences: Writing the Queer Self in early 20th-century Germany”, History of Sexuality seminar series, Institute of Historical Research.


Selected Conference Papers

  • 2020    “Ants in Your Pants: Sexuality, Morality and Ants in Sexual Knowledge Production in Ewers, Hirschfeld, Goldschmidt”, American Comparative Literature Association, Chicago [cancelled due to pandemic].
  • 2019    “Beastly Butterflies: Sexual Nature in Sexology and Modern Dance”, Beastly Modernism, Glasgow.
  • 2019    “The Blood-red Queen and the Professor: The Sexual Nature of Humans and Ants in Hanns Heinz Ewers’ Ameisen [Ants] (1925)”, British Society of Literature and Science conference, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • 2018    “Rethinking the Human: Sexology, Zoology, Literature and Visual Art after Darwin (c.1890-1930)”, Animal and Society Summer Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
  • 2018    “Queering Butterflies: On the Relationship between Sexology and Animal Genetics, ca. 1920”, British Animal Studies Network conference, Strathclyde University.
  • 2017    “Sexology and Film in and beyond Anders als die Andern (1919)”, The Visual Archives of Sexology, Birkbeck.
  • 2017    “Making LBGT* History: Gender and Sexuality in Anders als die Andern (1919)”, Association for German Studies annual conference, University of Warwick.
  • 2017    “‘An endless procession of them, from all times’: Sexology, Film, and Historical Constructions of Gender and Sexuality in Anders als die Andern (1919) and The Danish Girl (2015)”, Gender in Historical Film and TV conference, University of Minnesota.
  • 2015    “Body, Name, Gender: ‘Trans-Investiture’ in Early-twentieth-century”, Grenzen der Trans_Konzepte, University of Tübingen.
  • 2013    “Representations of Embodiment in Early-twentieth-century Life Writings of Gender and Sexual ‘Deviants’”, This Is My Body conference, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge.
  • 2013    “Hospitable Reading: An Approach to Life Writings of Gender and Sexual ‘Deviants’”, Crimes of Passion conference, University of Münster.

External impact and engagement

I have used my research to engage with different audiences in a variety of contexts, most frequently in the area of gender and sexual wellbeing and diversity. My public engagement and impact activities are research-led and frequently feed back into my research activities.

Most recently I have organised a public engagement knowledge exchange workshop with the Rethinking Sexology project, the Sex and History project and the Forschungsstelle Kulturgeschichte der Sexualität at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as well as NGOs, museums and sex educators. This event, which is part of a series of workshops taking place in Exeter and Berlin, facilitated a knowledge exchange about research-led museum and youth work in the area of gender and sexual health and diversity.

I am also the founder of the AHRC-funded project 'Sex in Six Objects'. The project uses objects from the history of sexuality to talk to young people about gender and sexual health and diversity. You can find out more about the project from the project website where you can also watch our project video. So far, seven (!) 'Sex in Six Objects' workshops have taken place, in collaboration with various researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter, Anglia Ruskin and the University of Manchester. Our workshops took place at various locations in Cambridge, including the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, as well as at the Freud Museum in London. The project has been covered in the local and national news.

I was also co-curator and specialist advisor for the art exhibition ‘Naomi Wilzig and Magnus Hirschfeld: Two Collections from the History of Sexuality’, which took place a the Institute of Sexology Research Center at the Humboldt Universität Berlin in May 2015.

I welcome the opportunity to share my research with the general public. I have given a public talk on ‘Literature and Sexuality’ at the Turl Street Arts Festival at Lincoln College, University of Oxford (2016) and have co-organised a workshop on historical gender and sexual diversity for the LGBT+ History Month event in Bristol (2018).

I occassionaly write academic journalism for The King's Review. You can find my interview with Jacqueline Rose and my article on sex education online.

I have written blog posts for Women in German Studies and Living Languages.

Contribution to discipline

I am a member of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (AGS), Women in German Studies (WiGS), the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS), and the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA).

I have reviewed articles for Social History of Medicine, the Journal of Gender Studies, Porn Studies, and Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

I am the co-founder and co-organiser (with geographer Dr Rich Gorman) of the Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Theory Reading Group.



The majority of my teaching is research-led in nature. You can see modules that I have contributed to or convened below.

I have supervised MA dissertations for students on the MA Global Literatures and Cultures, MA Translation Studies, and MA English. I am interested in supervising dissertations on topics that cover my teaching interests, including German-language literature, film & visual culture (20th & 21st centuries), comparative literature (Germanic & British), sexuality studies, medical humanities, critical theory, life writing, animal studies.

Please get in touch if you are interested in pursuing postgraduate study in any of the areas covered by my research expertise.



Modules taught


I joined the University of Exeter in 2017 after completing my PhD in German at the University of Cambridge (King's College, 2016). I have an MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies, also from the University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam College, 2012) and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London (2010). Before my PhD, I also spent one year as Tsuzuki Scholar at 日本経済大学 (Japan University of Economics) in Fukuoka, Japan, to study Japanese language and culture.

After submitting my PhD I was the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge (2016) and worked as Research Assistant for Professor Emerita Juliet Mitchell at Jesus College, Cambridge (2017). From October to November 2016 I was Sylvia Naish Fellow at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London. From 2016-2017 I was MHRA Scholar at the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge. From 2017-2020 I was Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.