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Durham University

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease

Current Research Project

Project - Publications - Recent and Forthcoming Conference Papers

History of Sex Education of Children and Adolescents, 1880s-1970s

Lutz D.H. Sauerteig

Project

This project analyses the history of sex education in Germany from the 1880s to the end of the 1970s. In contrast to former historical research on sexuality, which by large focused on ‘deviant’ sexualities, this study investigates what was perceived as ‘normal’ sexuality. The project evaluates the extent to which sex education reflected, reinforced and modified gender roles. Furthermore, in the discourse on sex education a number of central social conflicts was brought up. This involved not only the tension between morality and secular rationalism. Since the private world of sexuality has far-reaching social implications, debates on sex education had to consider the dilemma of individual versus social responsibility.

Specifically, this project addresses two main themes: Firstly, it examines the history of sex education as a field in which medical knowledge of the body was conveyed to children and adolescents. There were vigorous debates as to what kind of knowledge should be conveyed in relation to gender, age, class and religion. To address these issues, the project analyses the sex education literature and films that were intended for children and adolescents. The second major issue addressed by the project is the social politics surrounding the issue of who should undertake the task of educating children and adolescents in sexual matters. The often competing debates raised fundamental issues regarding the boundaries between public sphere and private sphere as well as the appropriate division of responsibilities between medical, educational, social hygiene and moral purity agencies.

Publications

Recent and Forthcoming Conference Papers

  • 'Empfängnisverhütung in der Sexualerziehung von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland, 1900-1980', Werkstattgespräche, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, 20 September 2016
  • 'Puberty: Explaining Changes in Body and Mind, c1900-c1980', invited keynote speaker at the international conference ‘Eros and Psyche: The Many Faces of Sexuality and Affectivity in Adolescence’, Milan University, Dept. for Social and Political Science, Milan, Italy, 5 February 2015
  • 'From the Fear of Conception to the Management of Sex: Birth Control in West German Sex Education Material, c. 1950-1980', invited speaker at the international conference ‘Die Wunschkindpille inder DDR. Empfängnis­verhütung – Familienplanung – Geschlechterbeziehungen', Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany, 27-29 November 2013
  • 'The Emotional Turmoil of Puberty Around 1900', invited speaker at the international conference 'Childhood, Youth and Emotions in Modern History', Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany, 29 November – 1 December 2012
  • '(Don't) "Show Me!": The Cultural Context of a Contested Sex Education Book', invited speaker at the symposium 'Birds and Bees: Transnational Histories of Sex Education', John F Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 6 July 2012
  • 'Puberty: Explaining Changes in Body and Mind (1900 1980)', international conference of European Social Science History Conference, panel on 'Understandings of Puberty from the 16th to the 20th Century', Glasgow, UK, 11-14 April 2012
  • 'Die Normalisierung kindlicher Sexualtiät um 1900', invited speaker at the conference 'Norm als Zwang, Pflicht und Traum - Normierende versus individualisierende Bestrebungen in der Medizin',Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin der Technischen Universität München, Munich, 8-9 March 2012
  • 'Loss of Innocence: Albert Moll, Sigmund Freud and the Invention of Childhood Sexuality around 1900', invited speaker at the Centre for the History of Childhood, Oxford University, Magdalen College, 2 November 2011
  • 'War früher alles besser? Kindheit und Sexualität vom 19. Jahrhundert bis in die 1970er Jahre', invited speaker at conference of the Evangelische Akademie Tutzingen on 'Sexualisierung von Kindern', Rothenburg o.d.T, Germany, 14-16 October 2011
  • 'Puberty and the Making of Gender: Explaining Changes in Body and Mind (1900-1980)', Bi-annual conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health; panel 'Governed by Body and/or Mind: The Understanding of Puberty from the Early Modern Period to the 20th Century' (convener: Dr Lutz Sauerteig), Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1-4 September 2011
  • 'Loss of Innocence: Albert Moll, Sigmund Freud and the Invention of Childhood Sexuality around 1900', Research Seminar, The UCL Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, UK, 18 May 2011
  • 'Loss of Innocence: The Shaping of Childhood Sexuality Around 1900', invited speaker for a research seminar at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds, UK, 9 February, 2011
  • 'McBrides "Zeig Mal!" - Zur Kulturgeschichte eines umstrittenen Aufklärungsbuchs aus den 1970er Jahren', invited speaker for a research seminar at the Department of Economic and Social History, University of Vienna, Austria, 15 November 2010
  • 'The Naked Body in West German Sex Education in the 1960s and 1970s', Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, panel 262 ‘The Politics of Desire in 1970s West Germany' (Moderator: Thomas Kuehne), Oakland, California, USA, 8-10 October 2010
  • 'Loss of Innocence: The Shaping of Childhood Sexuality Around 1900', invited speaker for the seminar series ‘Life Cycles', Institute for Historical Research, London, 22 June 2010
  • 'Puberty and the Making of Gender: Explaining Bodily Changes in Sex Education (1900-1980), invited speaker at the workshop ‘Gender, Medicine and the Body', Swansea University, 5 March 2010
  • 'Loss of Innocence: The Shaping of Childhood Sexuality Around 1900', Research Seminar, Centre for the History of Medicine, Warwick University, 1 December 2009
  • 'Albert Moll and the invention of childhood sexuality', International Conference 'Sex, Ethics and Psychology: The Networks and Cultural Context of Albert Moll (1862-1939)', Durham University, UK, 5-6 November 2009
  • 'Suitcase for Sex: West German Media and the Shaping of Sexual Knowledge of the Young', invited speaker at the International Conference 'Germans' Things: Material Culture and Daily Life in East and West, 1949-2009', The Wende Museum, University of California Los Angeles Library, and the German Historical Institute (Washington), Los Angeles, USA, 1-3 October 2009
  • 'Representations of Pregnancy and Birth in German Sex Education Books 1900s 1970s', Research Seminar, Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum, Cambridge University, UK, 2 March 2009
  • 'Puberty and the Making of Gender: Explaining Bodily Changes in Sex Education (1900-1980)', Joined Research Seminar, Centre for Medical History and Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Sexuality and Gender in Europe, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, 25 February 2009
  • 'Boy or Girl? The Making of the Heterosexual Body in Sex Education, 1900s-1970s', Research Seminar 'History of Sexual Health', Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK, 27 November 2008
  • 'Von der Etikette zur Erotik: Die Jugendzeischrift BRAVO und die Medialisierung sexuellen und erotischen Wissens in den 1960er/70er Jahren', inivited speaker at the International Conference 'Fragen Sie Dr. Sex!" - Beratungskommunikation und die mediale Konstruktion des Sexuellen', University of Zurich, Switzerland, 7-8 November 2008
  • 'Puberty and the Making of Gender: Explaining Bodily Changes in Sex Education (1900-1980)', 17th Annual Conference of the Women's History Network, University of Glasgow, UK, 5-7 September 2008
  • 'Körper im Wandel: Pubertät in der westdeutschen Sexualaufklärung', invited speaker at the International Conference 'Medizin und Gesellschaft in Westdeutschland, ca. 1945-1970', University of Bonn, Germany, 9-11 July 2008
  • 'Biologisierung, Erotisierung und die heterosexuelle Matrix: Sexualaufklärung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1945-1980', invited speaker at the International Conference 'Sexualität und Normalität: Medienwissenschaftliche und körpergeschichtliche Perspektiven auf den deutschsprachigen Raum (1945-2000)', Université du Luxembourg, Luxemburg, 6-8 December 2007
  • 'Medialisierung des erotischen Körpers in der Jugendzeitschrift BRAVO (1960er/70er Jahre)', International Conference 'Kulturgeschichtetag 2007', panel organized by Franz X. Eder on: 'Den Körper/Sex normalisieren: Textliche und bildliche Strategien im 20. Jahrhundert', Linz, Austria, 9-11 September, 2007. See conference report (in German)
  • 'The Making of the Modern Erotic Body: Sexual Knowledge and the Young in West Germany (1950s-1970s)', International Conference 'Sexual histories: bodies and desires uncovered', University of Exeter, Centre for Medical History, UK, 23-25 July 2007
  • 'Boy or Girl? The Making of the Heterosexual Body in Sex Education, 1900s-1970s', research seminar at the Centre for the History of Medicine, Glasgow University, UK, 5 June 2007
  • 'Von der Etikette zur Erotik: Sexualaufklärung in der Zeitschrift BRAVO', public lecture in the series 'Medizin und Gesellschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1945-1970)' by the Medizinhistorisches Institut and Studium Universale, Bonn University, Germany, 21 May 2007
  • 'Boy or Girl? The Making of the Heterosexual Body in Sex Education, 1900s-1970s', Research Seminar of the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 25 October 2006
  • 'Junge oder Mädchen – Frau oder Mann? Die Herstellung visueller Selbstverständlichkeiten in der Sexualaufklärung im 20. Jahrhundert', in the panel on 'Visualisierungen des Körpers: Bilder als Quelle für eine Kulturgeschichte der Medizin' (co-organized with Dr Cornelia Brink, University of Freiburg, Germany) at the Deutscher Historikertag (Conference of the German History Association), Konstanz, Germany, 19-22 September 2006, see report by Steffen Doerre (in German).
  • 'The Making of the Heterosexual Body in Sex Education, 1900s-1970s', in the panel on 'Representations of the Sexed Body in Medicine and Society' (organized by Lutz D.H. Sauerteig), at the Society for the Social History of Medicine Annual Conference 2006: Practices and Representations of Health: Historical Perspectives, University of Warwick, UK, 28-30 June 2006
  • 'Representations of Pregnancy and Childbirth in German Sex Education Books 1900s-1970s', research seminar at the Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, University of Manchester, 16 May 2006
  • 'Von der Etikette zur Erotik: Sexualaufklärung und "sexuelle Revolution" in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland', inivited speaker at the workshop 'Die sexuelle Revolution frisst ihre Kinder: Jugendliche in der Leistungsfalle', Katholische Akademie der Erzdiözese Freiburg, Germany, 18 February 2006
  • 'Von der Etikette zur Erotik: Sexualaufklärung in BRAVO (1960er/70er Jahre)', research seminar, Institute for the History of Medicine, Ruprecht-Karl's University, Heidelberg, Germany, 15 December 2005
  • 'Von der Etikette zur Erotik: Sexualaufklärung in der westdeutschen Jugendzeitschrift BRAVO (1960er/70er Jahre)', inivited speaker at the international conference 'Sexualität und Medien im 20. Jahrhundert: 100 Jahre "Die Sexuelle Frage" von August Forel', Zurich, Switzerland, 6-7 October 2005
  • 'Mediating the sexed body: sex education in the German youth magazine BRAVO, 1960s-1970s', in the Panel on 'Cultures of Knowledge and Power in Medicine and Health' (co-organized with Hans-Georg Hofer, University of Freiburg, Germany) at the International Conference 'Cultural History of Health and Beyond', European Association for the History of Medicine and Health and Society for the Social History of Medicine, Paris, France, 7-10 September 2005
  • 'Pregnancy and childbirth in German sex education books, 1900s-1970s', International Conference on 'Sex Education of the Young in the Twentieth Century: A Cultural History’'(co-organized with Roger Davidson, University of Edinburgh, UK), at Collingwood College, University of Durham, UK, 15-17 April 2005
  • 'Sex education literature and doing gender, 1960s-1970s', invited speaker at the workshop 'How can you tell? Interdisciplinary perspectives on sex difference', Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, UK, 10 May 2004
  • 'Sex education literature and doing gender, 1960s-1970s', 5th European Social Science History Conference, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, 24-27 March 2004
  • 'Sex education literature, 1950s-1970s: The making of "Geschlecht"', History of Medicine Seminars, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, UK, 9 March 2004