Course Number

World Literature 387B

Syllabus Date

Fall 2007

Department course is offered by


Course description

This course was taught by Robert Tobin at Whitman College. Professor Tobin worked at Whitman for 18 years as associate dean of the faculty and chair of the humanities, and was named Cushing Eells Professor of the Humanities. Several of the courses he developed at Whitman would make the transition to Clark, where they continued to evolve.

"Few people realize that the Greek term "homo" (same) and the Latinate "sex" (sex) were first combined to describe someone with a sexual interest in members of their own sex in 1869 in the German-speaking world. Similar observations can be made about terms such as "heterosexual", "masochist", and "transvestite". There was apparently an intense interest in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century German-speaking central Europe in reconfiguring and reconsidering sexuality. Out of this interest emerged sexologists such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing, whose Psychopathia Sexualis introduced a new vocabulary of sexuality to the entire world, homosexual activists such as Karl Ulrichs, who made arguments about sexual rights that are still prevalent in the gay community today, and Sigmund Freud, whose understanding of sexuality arguably structured much of twentieth century popular culture. In this course, we will use the tools of literary and cultural analysis, studying fictional, political, psychoanalytic and scientific works to investigate the emergence of modern sexual discourses in the German-speaking world.


sexuality, sexologists



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