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Lost Intimacies

Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism


William J. Spurlin

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.


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Jspurlin-Fm.indd vii 10/7/2008 9:18:09 PM viii | Acknowledgments the paper and writing the longer essay in French not only situated further this project in comparative studies, but enabled me to work in the often contested spaces between languages and thereby think through many of my theoretical and critical assumptions, which then became an important impetus for revision. I would like to thank the librarians at the various libraries and archives at which I worked for their endless patience in helping me to find often difficult to locate sources. In particular, I would like to thank the staff at the library and archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC, and I appreciate those who showed interest in my work at the Centre for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM. I also appreciated the kind assistance of the librarians and staff at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) in Paris, especially those who allowed me to photocopy materials slightly beyond the allotted limits! The librarians at the Humboldt University libraries in Berlin were extremely helpful, especially in the history and philoso- phy collections. And closer to home, the librarian staff at the British Library in London, as always, were extremely helpful, as they were in the libraries at Cardiff and Sussex Universities. I am also grateful to colleagues and graduate students from the English Graduate Colloquium Series at the University of Sussex for their feedback and support when I gave a colloquium paper in that...

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