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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Agnes Smedley between Berlin, Bombay, and Beijing

Agnes Smedley between Berlin, Bombay, and Beijing

Sexology, Communism, and National Independence

(p.398) Seventeen Agnes Smedley between Berlin, Bombay, and Beijing
Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1960

Veronika Fuechtner

University of California Press

This chapter examines how the global circulation of sexology intertwined with communism and national independence by focusing on the writings of American journalist Agnes Smedley as well as the letters written to her by the Indian revolutionary Bakar Ali Mirza. More specifically, it considers sexual science's connections to leftist psychoanalysis and to the Indian independence movement during the 1920s. It discusses Smedley's self-conscious mobilization of the language of sexual science as a path toward revolution and modern selfhood, doing so by shuttling between India, Germany, China, and the United States. The Berlin–India nexus and Mirza's correspondence with Smedley highlight the intrinsic interrelationships among the liberational rhetoric of leftist politics, feminism, sexual rights, national independence, and psychoanalytic introspection. The chapter also considers how Smedley and her Indian revolutionary interlocutors negotiated new definitions of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality emerging from the global movements of sexual science, radical politics, and psychoanalysis.

Keywords:   sexology, communism, Agnes Smedley, Bakar Ali Mirza, sexual science, psychoanalysis, Indian independence movement, Germany, leftist politics, feminism

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