Dr Cornelie Usborne
Professor of History, Director, Centre for Research in History and Theory at Roehampton University, London.
She has researched the history of repoduction, fertility control and sexuality in twentieth-century Germany. Her first book The Politics of the Body in Weimar German. Women's reproductive rights and duties (Macmillan 1992) (in German: Frauenkörper - Volkskörper. Geburtenkontrolle und Bevölkerungspolitik in der Weimarer Republik (Münster: Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot, 1994) discussed the official policy of birth control and abortion, whereas her most recent book, Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany (Oxford/New York: Berghahn, 2007) is a history of abortion from below, revealing women's own voices and experiences, as well as the practice of doctors and `quacks' and the represention of abortion on screen, stage and in fiction. In 2004 appeared the collection of papers (edited with Willem de Blécourt) Cultural approaches to the history of medicine. Mediating Medicine in Early Modern and Modern Europe (London: Palgrave) and in 1999 (edited with Meg Arnot) Gender & Crime in Modern Europe (London: UCL Press) which contains a chapter on abortion in Nazi Germany.
Her long-term interest is in the history of lived sexuality: Imagining Desire, Practising Pleasure. A Cultural History of Sexuality in Weimar and Nazi Germany. This project is concerned with the positive and productive creation of sexual subjectivity and desire at the levels of knowledge, practice, and the individual. Embedded within a broader social and cultural context it will trace sexual practices in everyday life, including those deemed deviant in the medico-legal discourse, such as homosexuality, prostitution, extra-marital sex etc. It will discuss popular (as well as dominant) attitudes towards sexual behaviour, the sexual life-cycle, the influence of sex education and sexology and the representation of sexuality in popular culture with reference to gender, class, generational and geographic differences.
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