A Golden Age for Queer Sexual Politics? Lesbian and Gay Literature and Film in 1970s Germany – Programme

May 25, 2017

International Conference
Thursday 20 July – Saturday 22 July 2017

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institute for German Literature
Research Center for the Cultural History of Sexuality

Conception and Organization: Janin Afken, Andreas Kraß, Benedikt Wolf

Click here to view the complete programme


Historical accounts of the German 1970s lesbian and gay movement(s) often draw the picture of a legendary decade, a golden age for queer sexual politics and culture. This view is dependent not only on the historic facts themselves, but also – and significantly – on the way in which they are narrated in literature and film, both of the 1970s themselves and of our times. However, what exactly made the 1970s a “legendary decade”? What was its revolutionary potential and what were its path-breaking political and aesthetic strategies? Which elements, movements and memories had to be marginalized in order to facilitate the historical construction of the “legendary decade”?

This conference aims to explore the queer appeal of the 1970s by both highlighting their legendary aspects and questioning the historical construction of the legendary decade. The conference focuses on the representation and construction of the queer 1970s in literature and film and highlights the process of cultural canonization and the differences between male and female homosexual expression.


Thursday, 20 July 2017, Kino Arsenal, Potsdamer Straße 2

6.30 pm: Welcoming Speeches by Ulrike Vedder, Andreas Kraß, Glyn Davis

7 pm: Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin Madame X.  Film screening (German original with English subtitles) with an introduction by the director Ulrike Ottinger


Friday, 21 July 2017, Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56

9:30 am: Introduction by Benedikt Wolf

9:50 am: “We were so turned on”. Reflections on Queer(ing) Past and Memory. Keynote by Susanne Hochreiter (Vienna). Chair: Tomasz Basiuk (Warsaw)

10:50 am: Coffee break

11:10 am: Session 1: The Canonized Queer 1970s, Chair: N.N.

  • Janin Afken (Berlin): From Sisters’ Skin to Womb Ego. Solidarity and Corporeality in Verena Stefan’s Shedding (1975)
  • Patsy l’Amour laLove (Berlin): A Legend of Gay Emancipation: Rosa von Praunheim’s Movie “Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt” (1971)
  • Benedikt Wolf (Berlin): Hubert Fichte’s Language of Desire. From “the Unchaste” to “Oymeln” in the Hamburg novels

12:40 pm: Lunch break

2 pm: Queers Give Me Pause. Keynote by Marc Siegel (Frankfurt a.M./Berlin). Chair: Juan Suárez (Murcia).

3 pm: Coffee break

3:20 pm: Session 2: Contesting the Canon, Chair: Hannes Hacke (Berlin)

  • Chris Auld (Ormskirk): Camp Subversion in the Films of R.W. Fassbinder
  • Vojin Saša Vukadinovic (Zurich): Aesthetics, Critique, Satire. Die Schwarze Botin and the Promise of Revolution
  • Peter Rehberg (Berlin): Bärtige Männer nackt auf Matratzenlager“: Post and Pre-Aids Representations of Gay Masculinity

4:50 pm: Coffee break

5:10 pm: Session 3: Retrospections, Chair: Patsy l’Amour laLove (Berlin)

  • Maria Bühner (Leipzig): How to Remember Invisibility: Documentary Projects on Lesbians in the German Democratic Republic as Archives of Feelings
  • Sebastian Zilles (Siegen): The 1970s in Retrospective. HIV/AIDS-Discourses in German Literature


Saturday, 22 July 2017, Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56

9:30 am: Session 4: European Perspectives, Chair: Todd Sekuler (Berlin)

  • Alejandro Melero (Madrid): LGTB Representation and Film Censorship in German-Spanish Co-Productions During the Last Years of Franco’s Dictatorship (1970-1975)
  • Krzysztof Zablocki (Warsaw): Wolfgang Jöhling – a Builder of Bridges Between German and Polish LGBT Scenes
  • Juan A. Suárez (Murcia): The Operatic Tableau in Seventies Queer Cinema: Werner Schroeter, Adolpho Arrieta, Teo Hernández

11 am: Coffee break

11:30 am: Panel Discussion: Is There a Shared History of Lesbian Women and Gay Men in the 1970s? Antke Engel (Berlin), Michael Bochow (Berlin), Laura Guy (Edinburgh), NN., NN.; Chair: Fiona Anderson (Newcastle)


The conference is free to attend.

Contact and Registration until 7 July 2017: kulturgeschichte-sexualitaet@hu-berlin.de


Kino Arsenal, Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin
Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin
Both of the venues are wheelchair accessible.

Conference Language is English

Image – still from Madame X.