Heike Bauer: The Hirschfeld Archives - Print

Examines the violence of queer existence in the first part of the twentieth century


The Hirschfeld Archives

Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture

Heike Bauer

paper EAN: 978-1-4399-1433-5 (ISBN:1-4399-1433-8)
$34.95, May 17, Available

cloth EAN: 978-1-4399-1432-8 (ISBN:1-4399-1432-X)
$92.50, Available

236 pp, 6 x 9, 7 halftones

"In this deeply researched and convincing analysis of Magnus Hirschfeld's ‘archives,’ Heike Bauer focuses on institutional and extra-legal violence against queers and their responses to it. She analyzes constraints on how suffering becomes ‘apprehensible’ in relation to different kinds of victims, and explores the limits and interest of Magnus Hirschfeld's views on German colonialism in ways no historian has done before. Her account of those affected by homophobic violence, and of Kinsey's reception of Hirschfeld, demonstrates how Hirschfeld, with all his limitations, shaped the modern gay rights' movement for better and worse, and also nuances assertions about the progressive trajectory of social movements by demonstrating how violence against marginal groups cripples as much as it energizes."
Carolyn J. Dean, Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French, Yale University

Influential sexologist and activist Magnus Hirschfeld founded Berlin's Institute of Sexual Sciences in 1919 as a home and workplace to study homosexual rights activism and support transgender people. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933. This episode in history prompted Heike Bauer to ask, Is violence an intrinsic part of modern queer culture? The Hirschfeld Archives answers this critical question by examining the violence that shaped queer existence in the first part of the twentieth century.

Hirschfeld himself escaped the Nazis, and many of his papers and publications survived. Bauer examines his accounts of same-sex life from published and unpublished writings, as well as books, articles, diaries, films, photographs and other visual materials, to scrutinize how violence—including persecution, death and suicide—shaped the development of homosexual rights and political activism.

The Hirschfeld Archives brings these fragments of queer experience together to reveal many unknown and interesting accounts of LGBTQ life in the early twentieth century, but also to illuminate the fact that homosexual rights politics were haunted from the beginning by racism, colonial brutality, and gender violence.



Read the Introduction (pdf).



"Ambitious and immensely generative, The Hirschfield Archives traces the violent genealogies of early twentieth-century queer culture in Europe. Bauer provides detailed and deft readings of Magnus Hirschfield's copious and yet less known writings on homosexual suicide, war, colonialism, and racism, placing them in robust dialogue with broader material and affective histories of everyday inequalities. In so doing, Bauer meditates not just on the violence of the queer archival record but also on the cultures of violence that produce and/or erase that very record."
Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Blending historical biography with critical analysis, Heike Bauer's The Hirschfeld Archives offers readers a fresh opportunity to consider the influence and limitations of one of 20th-century Europe's leading thinkers on sexuality.... The result is a complex, nuanced and politically relevant analysis of both Hirschfeld and queer culture... Bauer plots a course through Hirschfeld's work, identifying the violence that underpins and motivates it, making connections between this and the uses of death as a motivating force in more recent queer activism.... What The Hirschfeld Archives ultimately reveals is that much of what we are witnessing in queer politics and culture today is far from new, but instead has historical roots that date back to the very beginning of sexual liberation in Europe."
Times Higher Education




1. Sexual Rights in a World of Wrongs: Reframing the Emergence of Homosexual Rights Activism in Colonial Contexts
2. Death, Suicide, and Modern Homosexual Culture
3. Normal Cruelty: Child Beatings and Sexual Violence
4. From Fragile Solidarities to Burnt Sexual Subjects: At the Institute of Sexual Science
5. Lives That Are Spoken For: Queer in Exile



About the Author(s)

Heike Bauer is a Senior Lecturer in English and Gender Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of English Literary Sexology: Translations of Inversion, 1860-1930, the editor of Women and Cross-dressing, 1800-1939 and Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters across the Modern World (Temple), and the co-editor (with Matt Cook) of Queer 1950s: Rethinking Sexuality in the Postwar Years.


Subject Categories

Sexuality Studies/Sexual Identity
Gender Studies

In the Series

Sexuality Studies

Sexuality Studies, edited by Janice Irvine and Regina Kunzel, features work in sexuality studies broadly construed, in its social, cultural, and political dimensions, and in both historical and contemporary formations. The series includes titles located within disciplinary and interdisciplinary frames that combine theoretical methodologies with empirical research.


© 2017 Temple University. All Rights Reserved. This page: http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2432_reg.html