Sexuality and the Law in German-Speaking Europe

Sep 30, 2021 - Oct 04, 2021

Seminar at Forty-Fifth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Indianapolis, Indiana | Conveners: Martin Lücke (Freie Universität Berlin), Veronika Springmann (Freie Universität Berlin), and Richard F. Wetzell (German Historical Institute Washington)

Call for Papers

This seminar is being organized as part of the series of “GSA seminars” at the 44th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, in Washington DC, October 1-4, 2020.

The seminar seeks to bring together scholars from a range of fields – including but not limited to the history of sexuality, gender studies, queer studies, critical legal studies, and legal history – who are pursuing research projects on the ways in which sexuality and the legal order have intersected, come into conflict, and mutually influenced each other in German-speaking Europe since the early modern era. The seminar proposes to examine not only the effects of repressive laws – such as laws criminalizing homosexuality, abortion, or interracial sexual relations, for instance – on people’s sexual lives, but also the potentially empowering function of law, as in the case of legislation to punish violence against women, for instance, or of laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. More generally, the seminar is interested in exploring the myriad ways in which the study of sexuality and legal studies can be brought into a fruitful conversation.

Format: Once seminar participants have been identified, we will solicit their suggestions for common readings; we will review these and make available 4-5 core texts, to be read before participants write their papers (max. 4,000 words, in English or German, to be pre-circulated one month before GSA), relating their research to the seminar’s theme.

Seminars meet for all three days of the GSA conference during the first or second morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

How to apply: Please apply though the German Studies Association’s application portal.

Applicants are asked to submit a brief CV and a 500-word abstract of the paper (4,000 words max.) that they would like to contribute to the seminar; please include a paper title at the top of the abstract. Applications are due by 27 January 2020. You must have renewed your GSA membership for 2020 in order to be able to apply. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the conveners (email addresses listed above).

More information on the GSA seminars and the application process is available at

Martin Lücke,
Veronika Springmann,
Richard Wetzell,