School of Medicine and Health Research Seminar – ‘Loss of Innocence’

School of Medicine & Health Seminar Series

07 February 2012 in F009 at 12.00

An informal lunch will be served from 12.00, followed by the seminar at 12.30.

Dr Lutz Sauerteig, Deputy Director of the School’s Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease, and a historian of medicine, sexualities and bodies will present the first School Seminar of 2012.

Title: Loss of Innocence: Albert Moll, Sigmund Freud and the Invention of Childhood Sexuality around 1900

Abstract: My presentation analyses how, prior to the work of Sigmund Freud, an understanding of infant and childhood sexuality emerged during the nineteenth century. Key contributors to the debate were Albert Moll, Max Dessoir and others, as fin-de-siècle artists and writers celebrated a sexualised image of the child. By the beginning of the twentieth century, most paediatricians, sexologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and pedagogues agreed that sexuality formed part of a child’s ‘normal’ development. I will argue that the main disagreements in discourses about childhood sexuality related to different interpretations of children’s sexual experiences. On the one hand stood an explanation that argued for a homology between children’s and adults’ sexual experiences, on the other hand was an understanding that suggested that adults and children had distinct and different experiences. Whereas the homological interpretation was favoured by the majority of commentators, including Moll, Freud, and to some extent also by C.G. Jung, the heterological interpretation was supported by a minority, including childhood psychologist Charlotte Bühler.

The seminar will take place in F009. An informal lunch will be served from 12, followed by the seminar itself at 12.30.

Please RSVP to Lisa Evans (l.j.evans2@durham.ac.uk) before Friday 27th January for catering purposes.


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