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European History Commons

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History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

2015

Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Full-Text Articles in European History

Sex On The Brain: The Rise And Fall Of German Sexual Science, Kevin S. Amidon Sep 2015

Sex On The Brain: The Rise And Fall Of German Sexual Science, Kevin S. Amidon

Kevin S. Amidon

Throughout the nineteenth century, German medical, scientific and legal scholars found themselves puzzled and engaged by the diverse forms of human sexuality. Psychiatrists like Richard von Krafft-Ebing who were interested in explaining deviance encountered scientifically trained advocates for emancipation like Magnus Hirschfeld, and the result was the new – if unstable – discipline of sexual science. Because they based arguments for social intervention on knowledge of nature and the body, the field's proponents – like the advocates of eugenics and racial hygiene – argued that they were biologists. After 1900, this mutual biological engagement of sexual science and eugenics revealed itself in overlapping ...