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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22


GERM 65.09 (Research Seminar) Taboo Relationships: Deviant Desires in German Literature and Film

This course will critically examine representations of forbidden sexual desires within human relationships in German literature, film and the visual arts that deviate from present norm(s) set by the dominant culture(s). Discussions are based off of material from the Middle Ages to the Present and center on artistic  fantasies that involve social taboos including adultery, object-love, voyeurism, exhibitionism, prostitution, masturbation, sadomasochism, the art of pornography, same-sex love and age-difference relationships. We will situate each theme in its historical and literary context and investigate in what ways imagining sexual desires beyond the publicly acceptable may be read 1) as a call for non-conformism and rebellion against the repressive politics of the state exacted on the individual subject, 2) as a response against the psycho-medical field’s narrow labeling of sexual desires as degenerate perversions of middle class morals, 3) as cautionary tales that aim to redress such perceived acts of deviance and reestablish the moral order of the majority and 3) as artistic expression of that which is fundamentally human, i.e. the wide range of human sensory perception between the self and the other, which leads to such desires. The fictional material will be supplemented by medical, legal and political texts that seek to classify, regulate and fight for the expression of sexual relationships that are considered “beyond the norm.”

Instructor

Ostrau

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:LIT; WCult:W

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