Uniform Fantasies: Soldiers, Sex, and Queer Emancipation in Imperial Germany
Published by: University of Toronto Press
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Sales Date: 2023-07-07
Published: July 2023
344 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.75 in, 15 b&w illustrations
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Starting in the nineteenth century in Germany, colourful military uniforms became a locus for various queer male fantasies, fostering an underground sexual economy of male prostitution as well as a political project to exploit the army’s prestige for queer emancipation. In the first decade of the twentieth century, however, a series of scandals derailed this emancipatory project. Simultaneously, public debates began to invoke homosexuality, sadism, transvestism, and other sexological concepts to criticize military policies and practices.
In pursuing the threads with which queer authors and activists stitched their fantasies about uniforms, Jeffrey Schneider offers fresh perspectives on key debates over military secrecy, disciplinary abuses in the army, and German militarism. Drawing on a vast trove of materials ranging from sexological case studies, trial transcripts, and parliamentary debates to queer activist tracts, autobiographies, and literary texts, Uniform Fantasies uncovers a particularly modern set of concerns about such topics as outing closeted homosexuals, the presence of gay men in the military, and whether men in uniform are more masculine or more insecure about their sexual identity.
1. Outing Officers: Queer Activism, Melodrama, and the Harden-Moltke Trial
2. Disciplinary Abuses: From Military Secrecy to Sadism in the Army
3. The Obscure Object of Desire: Uniform Fetishism, Male Prostitution, and German Soldiers
4. Camping in His Own Private Militarism: Thomas Mann’s Queer Art of Failure and the Fantasies of Military Service
5. Perversions of Fantasy: Parody and the Left-Liberal Critique of German Militarism in Heinrich Mann’s The Loyal Subject
Epilogue: The War on Fantasy