The abject of my affection: “Heimosexuality” in German texts and films

2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation is an investigation of the spatial and temporal Othering of subjects, characters, and themes in German-language film and literature by means of a series of case studies, which illustrate a certain kind of alterity. This work offers a classification for a new type of Othering based on the interactions among gender, sexuality, and a notion of home or belonging. Heimosexuality, this kind of Othering, can appear when certain conditions are met: new bodies (corporeal constructions) will result from the combination of gender-sexual behaviors with notions of “home” and the pressures of abjection. The entities that emerge from this process operate in various spatiotemporalities, fusions of space and time with Otherness (allospaces and allotimes). Building on Sigmund Freud’s idea of the uncanny, chapter one provides and introduction to and foundation for the theoretical concepts employed throughout the dissertation by presenting a unique combination of phenomenological, psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories.

The following chapters demonstrate the application of these concepts to four main cultural products. Chapter two argues that the characters in Frank Wedekind’s play, “Frühlings Erwachen” (1891), affect/effect each other’s bodies and sexual identities, as the adolescent characters demonstrate the polymorphous nature of corporeal eroticism and its dependence on national ideas of respectability. Chapter three is an analysis of Robert Musil’s novel, Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (1906), in which Foucauldian disciplinary power, colored by ideas of cultural propriety and social fitness, mold the sexualized and gendered methods by which privileged young men subjugate their surroundings. Chapter four is an examination of Kutlug Ataman’s film, Lola und Bilidikid (1999), in which “majority Germans” and “minority Germans” affect each other’s attempts to construct a home despite obstacles of race, gender, and sexuality. Chapter five examines Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss’s film, Zurück auf los (2000), and its presentation of the re-temporalization of its Afro-German, HIV-positive, gay protagonist. Chapter six, the conclusion, builds on the theory presented in chapter one and posits the simulacral nature of identity categories, including that of belonging, whether Othering takes place in a national or anational or post-national setting.

Indexing (details)

Germanic literature;
Gender studies;
Film studies
0311: Germanic literature
0733: Gender studies
0900: Film studies
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Films; German; German literature; Queer theory; Sexuality; Space; Subjectivity; Time
The abject of my affection: “Heimosexuality” in German texts and films
Frackman, Kyle E.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Cocalis, Susan L.
Committee member
Berkman, Joyce A.; Byg, Barton B.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Germanic Languages & Literatures
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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