Update

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but for good reason.  I’ve been keeping myself busy with research, had a few deadlines to fulfill for essays (progress report, abstract, outline, and another essay, not for my project).  I’m going to post my abstract, so if you’re interested in the 200 word introduction of my project for a poster I’ll be putting together once I’m back in school, enjoy:

In this poster I present a summary of my senior thesis, which explores intersections and contrasts between German scientific and literary concepts and representations of homosexuality in the early 20th century – an era of sexual emancipation and scientific and literary exploration.  I investigate how many scientists and authors began to portray homosexuality as a natural element of human sexuality, as well as a phasic result of ones environment.  I specifically look at intersections between Magnus Hirschfeld’s scientific notions of sexuality as inborn and congenital, and Robert Musil’s literary depictions of homosexuality as a product of one’s surroundings. Hirschfeld was a German sexologist and human rights activist, while Musil was Austrian author of Young Törleß, a novel with homosexual desires of an adolescent as one of its underlying themes. Both Hirschfeld’s work and Musil’s novel convey an interest in scientifically explaining sexuality from the standpoint of an “observer,” and both view sexuality as a part of the psyche and soul that is “discovered.”  However, Musil’s notion of sexuality is still founded on the premise that heterosexuality is the normative sexuality, and that sexuality usually develops in this direction, while Hirschfeld observes gender beyond the male-female binary, and deems it inborn and fixed, incapable of development and change.  For Musil, sexuality is a test of controlling its “darker” aspects, in the case of Törleß, homosexuality; while for Hirschfeld, sexuality is a test of accepting ones nature, loving oneself, one’s partner.  Musil portrays (homo)sexuality as bound up with power-games and violence; although he contradicts his own critical depictions, as his character seems to experience homosexuality as more than a mere developmental “confusion.”  Hirschfeld’s research serves as a scientific tool in analyzing Musil’s characters, who are portrayed in a manner that almost resembles a psychological case-study.

 

Anyway, things have been going swimmingly here! I switched rooms in the past (almost) three weeks, the upgrade is quite nice…picture will follow in the next post. But, there are only two weeks left before I return back to the states, so things have to start happening way fast (namely, finishing the chapter of my research project I planned on finishing during this trip), it’s gonna be a bit hectic, but definitely doable.  Why hectic? Oh, yeah, my good friend Mallo is visiting me from home! Flying all the way here just to visit me…FOR TWO WEEKS! What a treat, can’t tell you how awesome and lucky I feel (but, you know…of course visiting me was mostly enticing because I’m in Berlin, only one of the bitchin’est cities ever.  We have a lot planned, despite my research goals (I’ll be putting in some odd hours to get everything done, but believe-you-me, it WILL be done, I’ll need some good RnR once I’m back home, no stress and pressure please!).  Some things on the agenda are: a trip to Wannsee, a trip to Potsdam, the usual here in Berlin, Tacheles, night life (a roomie has been talking this one place Berghein UP and DOWN…but you know, party starts at midnight…so we’ll have to have a long night planned if we want to make the expensive entry worth it), a day trip to Poland (yeah, that’s right, POLAND…super cheap to drive there with the train…bless the debt ridden cities who can offer cheap accommodation, bless them), among other things…we’ll have to see how friendly we are to our checkbooks.  I’m guessing pretty friendly, my ass is close to broke (and trust me, I’ve practically done nothing extracurricular in the last few weeks, damn the expensive plane tickets…damn them straight to hell).

Ok, more to come later, she arrives in a matter of hours – time to put final touches on everything!

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