Lost Intimacies

Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism

by William J. Spurlin (Author)
©2009 Textbook 154 Pages
Series: Gender, Sexuality, and Culture, Volume 4


Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism uses queer theory as a hermeneutic tool with which to read against the grain of heterotextual narratives of the Holocaust and as a way of locating alternative pathways of meaning in dominant Holocaust research. Specifically addressing the racialization of sexuality, the book asks how the politics of sexuality can be more explicitly and systematically theorized, along with state-sanctioned homophobia under Nazism, with a clear recognition that homophobia seldom operated alone, but worked in conjunction with other axes of power, including race, gender, eugenics, and population politics. In theorizing gender and sexuality as entangled axes of analysis, the book allows the specificity of lesbian difference to emerge and challenges the received wisdom that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted under National Socialism. William J. Spurlin questions the wisdom of received scholarship that reduces Nazi fascism to latent homosexuality, and examines the possible implications of Nazi homophobia, and its imbrication with other deployments of power, for the study of contemporary culture where the homophobic impulse continues to reverberate, thereby challenging understandings of history steeped in notions of progressive modernity.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (March)
Deutschland Politische Verfolgung Geschichte 1933-1945 Gay study History Holocaust study Homosexualität Cultural study
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XII, 154 pp.

Biographical notes

William J. Spurlin (Author)

William J. Spurlin is Professor of English and Vice Dean/Education in the College of Business, Arts & Social Sciences at Brunel University London. A specialist in comparative literature and culture, he has written extensively on the politics of gender and sexual dissidence across English, French, and German language contexts, and he is widely known for his work in postcolonial queer studies. His other books include Imperialism within the Margins: Queer Representation and the Politics of Culture in Southern Africa (2006); the co-edited volumes Comparatively Queer: Interrogating Identities across Time and Cultures (with Jarrod Hayes and Margaret R Higonnet, 2010); Écritures du Corps: Nouvelles Perspectives (with Anne Tomiche and Pierre Zoberman, 2013); and his forthcoming book is Contested Borders: Queer Politics and Cultural Translation in Francophone Writing from the Maghreb (2022). Professor Spurlin is Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom.


Title: Lost Intimacies