Sex on the brain: The rise and fall of German sexual science
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 debates between the proponents of both fields.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Endeavour. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Endeavor, [32, 2, (2008)] doi:10.1016/j.endeavour.2008.04.004