Europäische Zeitgeschichte

Marching… and Stumbling. Thoughts about Masculinities, War, and Germany’s “Century of Sex”

22 November 2022

Marching… and Stumbling. Thoughts about Masculinities, War, and Germany’s “Century of Sex”
"Europe" seminar with Prof. Patrick Farges, Université de Paris Cité.

Germany’s “Century of Sex” (D. Herzog) offers a case in point for studying gender ambivalences in (post)war contexts. Though gender and sexuality are “useful categories of historical analysis” (Joan W. Scott), they remain profoundly recalcitrant, as they combine liberalisation and repression, consent and violence, the private and the public… As I shall argue, masculinities offer insightful perspectives for understanding German society and Europe at war. Nazism, which advocated an ideal of comradeship and racial purity, regulated gender, sexualities and procreation through racist, homophobic, sexist and eugenic laws. Yet the period also saw the coexistence of sexual constraints and forms of gender violence with the opening of new spaces for sexual and gender experimentation. The Nazi war of conquest and annihilation marked an important break. As combatants and colonisers in Europe, German and Austrian men found themselves at the centre of gendered mutations: actors of violence, agents of war and, ultimately, bearers of defeat. In this context, we need to think more about “integrated histories” of gender and sexuality, focusing on men and women, queer and straight, Jews and non-Jews.

Patrick Farges is Professor of German & Gender History at University of Paris Cité/France. He studied Germanistik, history and social sciences in Paris, Berlin, Toronto and Berkeley. PhD 2006 (University of Paris 8/EHESS). Habilitation 2016 (Sorbonne University). Teaching positions at the Universities of Paris 8, Dijon and Tours (2002-2006); Assistant professor at the German Department of University Sorbonne Nouvelle (2007-2017); Visiting Fellow at the Minerva Institute for German History of the University of Tel Aviv (2013). His main research interests are migration studies, German-Jewish history, gender studies (with a focus on critical masculinity studies) and oral history.


Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Starting at 17.00 CET

C²DH Open Space, 4th floor and Webex

for the Webex link please contact Adelina Stefan at