Sexuality may feel like the most personal, the most intimate sphere of the self, and thus seem to be an exclusively individual and subjective dimension of the self. Concurrently, during the last decades, historians, as well as philosophers, political theorists, social scientists, psychoanalysts, and activists have found sexuality to be closely interwoven with power relations, structures of domination and therefore utterly social. This sociality becomes particularly evident when looking into the past: The bewildering array of how sexualities were being lived, practiced, experienced, understood and theorized by different social actors in heterogenous socio-historic constellations tells countless stories of manifold sexualities. However, theorists of sexuality have also stressed that sexualities and past, as well as current forms of desire, cannot be derived directly from sociality, or history. Along these lines, the counterpoint to infinite stories of sexual diversity are questions about limits, affinities, and continuities connected to sexualities in history – both concerning the extraordinary diversity of sexual expressions, and the various ways societies have addressed, identified, regulated, chased, investigated, and striven to contain them.
Scientific research on the historical dimensions of sexualities has considerably become more widespread in recent decades. Ranging across time and place, the Sexualities in History series concentrates on questions concerning sexual bodies, on sexual practices and cultures in history, on historical constellations of (sexual) intimacy, arousal, and desire.
Thereby, the series aims to reach across disciplines, regional and national boundaries, bringing together studies of sexualities from all parts of the world in English and German. The authors may come from the fields of history, social sciences, literature, and art, but pursue all historical questions. As the first volume in the series, the monograph by Elisa Heinrich Intim and respectable. Negotiations of Homosexuality and Friendship in the German Women's Movement 1870 to 1914 will be published.
Dr. Sebastian Bischoff is Post-Doc researcher at the Department of History at Paderborn University. Currently, he is working on a new book project, working title: “The battle for lust – The West German Political Right and the Sex, 1960ff.”
Dr. Julia König is Assistant Professor at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. She has dealt extensively with historical constellations of the sexual order in relation to the generational order.
Dr. Dagmar Lieske is working as a research assistant at the German Resistance Memorial Center in the project “Women in Resistance to National Socialism”. She also investigates the history of sexual violence and child abuse in German history.