Tragedies of Pregnancy: Representation of Pregnancy in the Plays of German Writer Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863)

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present day. This month we have PoP Director Leanne Calvert talking about men and sexuality in the 18th Century.

Staging a play about illegitimate pregnancy was a huge scandal in the German society of the 1840s as the stories of Friedrich Hebbel’s play Judith and Maria Magdalena show. Before his debut text Judith could even be staged in July 1840, it had to be edited. The defloration scene, which can even be read as a rape, in the third act as well as Judith’s fear of being pregnant with Holoferne’s child at the end of the play were removed for the premiere. A similar situation happened to one of his other plays: Maria Magdalena – which I would like to focus on. Even though the play was finished in 1843, it was not shown on a public stage until March 1846. Again, the scandal of the pregnant heroine prevented the staging, as Auguste Crelinger, actress at the Königliches Hoftheater in Berlin wrote in a letter to Hebbel: “On Sunday I received a letter from Madame Crelinger about Maria Magdalena. There is once again nothing. I am a very talented person, have thoughts, language, what do I know what all else, but, but – – the heroine is pregnant, and this is an insurmountable source of offence.”[1]

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New Job Position in History

The Georg-August Göttingen Universität, in collaboration with the German Education and Research Ministry and the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, has an open position for a Researcher in the area of Material Culture History, within the cultural history collection. One of the mayor points of interest will be digitalisation of cultural heritage items. Two year contract. Women are especially encouraged to apply.

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Non-Reproduction: Politics, Ethics, Aesthetics (2014)

Published 2014

Volume 6, issue 1 of the journal Studies in the Maternal is a special edition on ‘Non-Reproduction: Politics, Ethics, Aesthetics‘. It was co-edited by Perceptions of Pregnancy network member Fran Bigman, and includes an article by Lucy van de Wiel who also spoke at our conference. The contents range from a piece on Reproductive Ageing and Egg Freezing in Dutch and British News Media to one on Voluntary childlessness in Weimar and contemporary Germany.

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Crimes Related to Sexuality and Reproduction (2014)

Oxford Handbook

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Published May 2014

Daniel J.R. Grey,‘Crimes Related to Sexuality and Reproduction’ in Rosemary Gartner and Bill McCarthy (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) 225-241.

About the Essay

This essay provides a review of English-language historiography, concentrating particularly (but not exclusively) on discussions of criminalised sexuality in Europe between the sixteenth century and early twentieth century … The themes followed here are the idea of condoned and proscribed sexuality; prostitution; and crimes relating to reproduction.

About the Handbook

Research on gender, sex, and crime today remains focused on topics that have been a mainstay of the field for several decades, but it has also recently expanded to include studies from a variety of disciplines, a growing number of countries, and on a wider range of crimes. The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime reflects this growing diversity and provides authoritative overviews of current research and theory on how gender and sex shape crime and criminal justice responses to it.

The editors, Rosemary Gartner and Bill McCarthy, have assembled a diverse cast of criminologists, historians, legal scholars, psychologists, and sociologists from a number of countries to discuss key concepts and debates central to the field. The Handbook includes examinations of the historical and contemporary patterns of women’s and men’s involvement in crime; as well as biological, psychological, and social science perspectives on gender, sex, and crimal activity. Several essays discuss the ways in which sex and gender influence legal and popular reactions to crime. An important theme throughout The Handbook is the intersection of sex and gender with ethnicity, class, age, peer groups, and community as influences on crime and justice. Individual chapters investigate both conventional topics – such as domestic abuse and sexual violence – and topics that have only recently drawn the attention of scholars – such as human trafficking, honor killing, gender violence during war, state rape, and genocide.
The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime offers an unparalleled and comprehensive view of the connections among gender, sex, and crime in the United States and in many other countries. Its insights illuminate both traditional areas of study in the field and pathways for developing cutting-edge research questions.