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Date of Award

2-2009

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

German and Scandinavian Studies; Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

First Advisor

Susan Cocalis

Second Advisor

Barton Byg

Third Advisor

Joyce Berkman

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | German Literature

Abstract

This dissertation is an investigation of the spatial and temporal Othering of subjects, characters, and themes in German-language film and literature by means of a series of case studies, which illustrate a certain kind of alterity. This work offers a classification for a new type of Othering based on the interactions among gender, sexuality, and a notion of home or belonging. Heimosexuality, this kind of Othering, can appear when certain conditions are met: new bodies (corporeal constructions) will result from the combination of gender-sexual behaviors with notions of “home” and the pressures of abjection. The entities that emerge from this process operate in various spatiotemporalities, fusions of space and time with Otherness (allospaces and allotimes). Building on Sigmund Freud’s idea of the uncanny, chapter one provides and introduction to and foundation for the theoretical concepts employed throughout the dissertation by presenting a unique combination of phenomenological, psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories.

The following chapters demonstrate the application of these concepts to four main cultural products. Chapter two argues that the characters in Frank Wedekind’s play, “Frühlings Erwachen” (1891), affect/effect each other’s bodies and sexual identities, as the adolescent characters demonstrate the polymorphous nature of corporeal eroticism and its dependence on national ideas of respectability. Chapter three is an analysis of Robert Musil’s novel, Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (1906), in which Foucauldian disciplinary power, colored by ideas of cultural propriety and social fitness, mold the sexualized and gendered methods by which privileged young men subjugate their surroundings. Chapter four is an examination of Kutluğ Ataman’s film, Lola und Bilidikid (1999), in which “majority Germans” and “minority Germans” affect each other’s attempts to construct a home despite obstacles of race, gender, and sexuality. Chapter five examines Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss’s film, Zurück auf los (2000), and its presentation of the re-temporalization of its Afro-German, HIV-positive, gay protagonist. Chapter six, the conclusion, builds on the theory presented in chapter one and posits the simulacral nature of identity categories, including that of belonging, whether Othering takes place in a national or anational or post-national setting.

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