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Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1960$
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Veronika Fuechtner, Douglas E. Haynes, and Ryan M. Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293373

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293373.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Sexology in the Southwest

Sexology in the Southwest

Law, Medicine, and Sexuality in Germany and Its Colonies

(p.141) Six Sexology in the Southwest
Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1960

Robert Deam Tobin

University of California Press

This chapter examines how state power and sexual science converged in German Southwest Africa during the early twentieth century by focusing on the case of Victor van Alten. Between 1904 and 1906, van Alten, a German colonist, was tried three times for “indecent conduct contrary to nature” after making sexual assaults on several African men in colonial Southwest Africa. His story offers important insights into the legal terrain for male homosexuality in the German-speaking world and foreshadows the impact that influential sexologists such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Carl Westphal would have worldwide. The chapter first provides a background on paragraphs 175 and 51 of the German Penal Code before discussing how the van Alten case cast light on some of the common assumptions about liberal progress in the histories of sexology, science, and medicine, as well as the relationship of these disciplines to genocide, racism, and colonialism.

Keywords:   state power, sexual science, Southwest Africa, Victor van Alten, male homosexuality, German Penal Code, genocide, sexology, racism, colonialism

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