Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism uses queer theory as a hermeneutic tool with which to read against the grain of heterotextual narratives of the Holocaust and as a way of locating alternative pathways of meaning in dominant Holocaust research. Specifically addressing the racialization of sexuality, the book asks how the politics of sexuality can be more explicitly and systematically theorized, along with state-sanctioned homophobia under Nazism, with a clear recognition that homophobia seldom operated alone, but worked in conjunction with other axes of power, including race, gender, eugenics, and population politics. In theorizing gender and sexuality as entangled axes of analysis, the book allows the specificity of lesbian difference to emerge and challenges the received wisdom that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted under National Socialism. William J. Spurlin questions the wisdom of received scholarship that reduces Nazi fascism to latent homosexuality, and examines the possible implications of Nazi homophobia, and its imbrication with other deployments of power, for the study of contemporary culture where the homophobic impulse continues to reverberate, thereby challenging understandings of history steeped in notions of progressive modernity.
The Author: William J. Spurlin is Reader in English at the University of Sussex where he directs the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence and Cultural Change. His most recent book is Imperialism within the Margins: Queer Representation and the Politics of Culture in Southern Africa (2006), and he has written numerous essays on queer studies, postcolonial studies, critical theory, and twentieth-century comparative literature.