In this interview, Prof. Dr. Andreas Kraß talks about the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive of Sexology.
Andreas Krass is a Professor of German Literature at the Humboldt-University Berlin, with a focus on premodern culture, Gender Studies and Queer Studies. He is a member of the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Humboldt University and the director of the Research Center Archive for Sexology that investigates the cultural heritage of Magnus Hirschfeld and his Institute for Sexology in Berlin. His forthcoming book on the literary history of friendship between men will be published in Summer 2016.
“What are queer archives and what can they do? Philosopher Michel Foucault and literary critic Eve Sedgwick can help answer these questions. In Archaeology of Knowledge Foucault distinguishes between physical and discursive archives. While physical archives collect historical documents about a specific time and place, discursive archives regulate what can be thought and said at a specific time and in a specific place. This distinction may be useful in analyzing the interaction between the “archive of heteronormativity” on the one hand, and queer archives, which question the premises of heteronormativity and establish a non-normative form of cultural memory, on the other. Sedgwick, in Epistemology of the Closet, differentiates between the notions of a master canon and a minority canon of literature. This distinction may be useful in analyzing the relationship between the master canon of heteronormative film and the minority canon of queer film. It may also be useful in order to redefine the heteronormative canon by looking at it from a queer point of view.