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Friday, 17 May 2013

Phoenix seeds spread by the wind

Nearly 2 weeks ago I had the honour to be one of the keynote speakers at a conference in Berlin, Das Erbe der Berliner Sexualwissenschaft: Eine Fachtagung sexualwissenschaftlicher Archive
held in the impressive surroundings of the Humboldt University Graduate School, formerly the Imperial Veterinary College. This took place on the exact 80th anniversary of the destruction of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft by the Nazis in 1933.

I gave a brief summary of the matters I addressed in my talk over on the Wellcome Library blog  in a post on Sexology in the Wellcome Library.

This was a fascinating, wideranging and interdisciplinary day, as the programme indicates (although sadly Erwin Haeberle was unable to be there) dealing with a range of issues around Hirschfeld and his institute, the continuing problems that beset institutions building up research collections in what can still be a controversial area, and the wider impact of his legacy. There were also some excellent and thought-provoking panel discussions involving speakers and the audience in lively interchanges. While my German is, alas, too rudimentary to keep up with scholarly papers and debate, the organisers had very kindly provided me with an interpreter whose services meant that I was able to follow the outlines of what was being said.


  1. Oh, that sounds fascinating.

  2. I think it would have been even more fascinating if my German had been more up to it! - but I had a good time nonetheless. Also my interpreter turned out to be doing their PhD on 1930s British novelists, another of my interests!