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Wed 24 March
    11.00 - 12.15
    12.30 - 13.45
    14.30 - 15.45
    16.00 - 17.15

Thu 25 March
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    12.30 - 13.45
    14.30 - 15.45
    16.00 - 17.15

Fri 26 March
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    12.30 - 13.45
    14.30 - 15.45
    16.00 - 17.15

Sat 27 March
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    12.30 - 13.45
    14.30 - 15.45
    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 24 March 2021 14.30 - 15.45
Q-3 SEX09 The Moving Front: Changing Sexuality in Post-war Europe
Q
Network: Sexuality Chair: Chris Waters
Organizers: - Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Andrés Brink Pinto : Policing Public Sex between Men – the Stockholm Homosex-commission 1944–1968
Homosexuality was de-criminalized in Sweden in 1944. However, the following two decades saw a sharp increase in surveillance, regulation and judicial discipline regarding same sex encounters between men in Sweden, and in particular in Stockholm were the police established a special commission in order to combat “criminal homosexuality”. The increased ... (Show more)
Homosexuality was de-criminalized in Sweden in 1944. However, the following two decades saw a sharp increase in surveillance, regulation and judicial discipline regarding same sex encounters between men in Sweden, and in particular in Stockholm were the police established a special commission in order to combat “criminal homosexuality”. The increased policing of homosexual acts fits with a larger trend in the western world. While homosexual acts were illegal in many, but not all, western countries the policing seem to have been focused on the prevention of homosexual acts taking place in public or semi-public places regardless of the legal status of homosexuality.
The purpose of this paper is to explore one case of the policing of public sex between men in the western world in the period between the war and the emergence of gay liberation in the early 1970s. In order to do so I will connect with two common conceptualizations of the policing of homosexuality; Knowledge and Visibility.
Firstly I will explore which kind of specific knowledge the police produced regarding homosexuality. The production of knowledge on, and in many ways also the production of, a homosexual subject is a central part of the policing of homosexuality. In order to police effectively the commission had to acquire or create a minute knowledge of the policed subjects. Individual actions, desires and utterances were understood with an abstract discourse of how the homosexual male acted, walked and spoke. This kind of knowledge had large consequences for the individuals that were submitted to invasive police procedures, as well as for the individuals that were able to evade police attention by defying police knowledge.
Secondly I will explore how the police made the urban geography of homosexuality visible. In order to be able to police homosexuality the police also had to make homosexuals as well as the urban spaces, such as parks and public urinals, they frequented visible. A systemization and visualisation of the urban space through the gathering of statistics and extensive mapping also seem to have been key components of policing throughout the western world. I will also pose questions on how homosexual subjects and practices were codified through statistics and how specific places were imbued with meaning through the visualisation of the homosexual urban space. (Show less)

Davide Giuseppe Colasanto : At the Origins of the Sexual Revolution: Press, Politics, and Consumerism in 1960s Italy
Supported by the economic boom and the full transition to a consumer society, Italy in the early 1960s registered a flourishing production of cultural magazines of all kinds and for all segments of society. In a linguistically divided country with a very low number of book readers (only 18% of ... (Show more)
Supported by the economic boom and the full transition to a consumer society, Italy in the early 1960s registered a flourishing production of cultural magazines of all kinds and for all segments of society. In a linguistically divided country with a very low number of book readers (only 18% of Italians had read at least one book in 1958), magazines became the concrete bridge between high and popular culture with hundreds of thousands of copies sold every week.
Motivated by a yet untapped mass market segment, and the widespread appeal of the topic, a few publishers started to focus their core subject matter on sexuality. It was a tricky path, one constantly hampered by the numerous judicial obstacles of a moral conservative legislative system. Nonetheless, a few magazines reached editorial and popular success with a deliberate mix of increasingly less covered bodies, investigative reports on the most urgent political and social problems, and interventions of national and international intellectuals.
My research reconstructs the historical significance of two cultural magazines: Playmen and ABC. These are key sources because of their relevant contribution to the common sexual imaginary of those years. The first magazine was an editorial success led by a woman (Adelina Tattilo), selling more copies than Playboy Italy, and hosting cultural articles and interviews with men and women of culture (it was a huge and remarkable popular phenomenon, but to date there have been no academic studies of this magazine). ABC was the most active magazine in promoting a political vision based on fostering sexual liberation and all related political fights (divorce, abortion, equal rights, etc.) by juxtaposing tantalizing images of naked bodies to well crafted journalistic reports on politics and sexuality. During the 1960s and 1970s both magazines had an average distribution of 350,000 copies every week.
These magazines have never been studied within the historiography of the sexual revolution. We need to address their fundamental role in shaping the political, social, and cultural frameworks of the late 1960s and 1970s. These examples show the central role of consumer culture in shaping both fantasies and politics of sexuality within a context and legal system of moral conservatism. Only by looking at these cultural objects it is possible to reconstruct the role of less known but fundamental actors of the sexual revolution. (Show less)

Matleena Frisk : Freely Sold Contraceptives and Public Control from the 1950s to the 1970s. Condom Retail and Expert Organizations in Finland
This paper focuses on trade and retail of freely sold contraceptives, especially condoms, as well as public discussion on the topic, and expert organization’s (Finnish Family Federation and Finnish Association Against Sexually transmitted diseases) role in contraceptive retail). In the early 1970s, condoms were significantly easier to choose as a ... (Show more)
This paper focuses on trade and retail of freely sold contraceptives, especially condoms, as well as public discussion on the topic, and expert organization’s (Finnish Family Federation and Finnish Association Against Sexually transmitted diseases) role in contraceptive retail). In the early 1970s, condoms were significantly easier to choose as a method of contraception than couple of decades earlier. This was not essentially due to a technological or legal change, but a change in retail channels and availability. Advising on the usage of contraceptives or using them was never illegal in Finland. The retail pattern and advertising of condoms changed although condom as a contraceptive device did not go through any significant technological development during the time. Public attention was paid to the reliability of the products, and normative restraints diminished. Combining consumption history, history of sexuality, and business history, this paper tackles questions such as how did consumers obtain condoms, who sold them, where were they produced, and what was the role of different expert organizations in the import and retail.

Some contraceptives have been tied to public control because of their status as medicines or medical products, such as contraceptive pills only available on prescription, diaphragms fitted by medical professionals, and in the 1970s IUDs. Many of the previously widely used practices of birth control involved products, services and do-it-yourself-methods, like withdrawal, rhythm method, vinegar-dipped cotton inserted into vagina, douching, and contraceptive foams, and visiting abortionists, were not tied to the medical professionals’ decisions and values, or experts worries about insufficient population growth. Many of these methods, products and services were unreliable and obtaining them was dependent on personal resources, and some of them were also life-threatening. During the period observed, these methods were largely replaced by medically controlled, safer and more reliable methods.

I will use archival material from both Finland and Sweden. By the late 1960s the attitudes concerning using birth control were rapidly changing. The Finnish Family Federation (Väestöliitto), an organization with a powerful semi-official role and wide political support, had previously been negative towards condom vending machines in restaurants and bars, assuming that they enabled casual extramarital and premarital sexual contacts. In the late 1960s, Väestöliitto started importing RFSU’s (Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) tested condoms and selling them via mail-order. This made the public organization a competitor of private companies marketing essentially similar products. At the same time the Family Federation, previously mostly interested in population politics and that had been morally condemning the use of contraceptives, was marketing the idea of condoms as a reliable contraceptive method and using them as part of responsible sexual behavior. (Show less)

Rosa Hamilton : The Very Quintessence of Persecution: Queer Antifascism in 1970s Western Europe
Queer activists have played a leading role in the current revival of antifascism as seen at the 2017 Charlottesville and Berkeley rallies. Yet the history of queer antifascist resistance remains unexplored. Intersectional and transnational approaches are needed which examine the interconnections of sexuality, gender, race, and class in antifascist organizing.

My ... (Show more)
Queer activists have played a leading role in the current revival of antifascism as seen at the 2017 Charlottesville and Berkeley rallies. Yet the history of queer antifascist resistance remains unexplored. Intersectional and transnational approaches are needed which examine the interconnections of sexuality, gender, race, and class in antifascist organizing.

My paper does this by looking at gay liberationists in 1970s Europe who formulated a queer antifascism. By this they meant a robust antifascist activism rooted in queerness and an analysis of an ‘everyday fascism’ imminent to capitalist society and connected to existing oppressive structures of patriarchy, racism, and compulsory heterosexuality. For these activists, queerness was necessarily antifascist and intersectional. This was a conscious challenge to dominant medical, popular, and activist discourses which constructed fascism as queer going back to the 1930s such as Stalinist interpretations of homosexuality as bourgeois decadence and William Reich’s work on the politics of sexuality.

In my paper, I will focus on the 1970s when gay liberation movements first emerged in Europe challenging structural inequalities while calling for the creation of radical queer subjectivities. These activists, especially in Britain, France, Italy, and Germany, made unique contributions to antifascist theory and praxis. While the larger antifascist movement of the late 1970s organized against formal fascist parties, queer antifascists adopted novel tactics privileging direct action and community work, and utilized an intersectional approach centering queerphobia as a constitutive aspect of fascist ideology. Rooting their activism in their lived experience as an oppressed community, these activists confronted fascism in structural terms by organizing against white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism in everyday life while also standing against explicitly fascist parties.

Due to the lack of work on these activists, my paper relies on a combination of oral histories, against-the-grain archival research, and private collections. Oral histories in particular allow me to queer canonical antifascist histories while introducing new perspectives on previously-overlooked aspects of antifascist organizing, such as the perspectives of women of color, the divisions within the antifascist movement, and the role of diverse antifascist subcultures as fundraisers and builders of queer communities.

From 1970, queer antifascists were already organizing within groups such as the Front homosexuel d'action révolutionnaire in France and the Gay Liberation Front in the UK which viewed itself explicitly as “part of the wider movement aiming to abolish all forms of oppression” under capitalism. By the mid to late 1970s, large queer movements had emerged emphasizing antifascism as a necessary practice for all radical queers. By the early 1980s, many of these movements were folding after years of rejection from a still homophobic left. In the wake of the AIDs crisis and the shift of European governments towards the right, many queer antifascists moved towards new forms of autonomous and local organizing increasingly directed against the state. This was a restructuring rather than an endpoint. Despite formally declining, these activists left lasting legacies, namely new possibilities for radical queer subjectivities and a pioneering structural analysis of fascism which remains more relevant today than ever. (Show less)

Alessio Ponzio : Failed Projects and Lonely Hearts: Der Kreis and the Italian Homophiles
The first Italian gay organization (FUORI) was founded in Turin in 1971. In an interview the founder of the Italian Homosexual Revolutionary Front, Angelo Pezzana, underlined how he discovered ideas and ideals of the American and British gay liberation movements through books and publications. He underlined how the decision of ... (Show more)
The first Italian gay organization (FUORI) was founded in Turin in 1971. In an interview the founder of the Italian Homosexual Revolutionary Front, Angelo Pezzana, underlined how he discovered ideas and ideals of the American and British gay liberation movements through books and publications. He underlined how the decision of founding the Front was also a consequence of transnational impulses. However, before the FUORI was founded, Italians were already part of a transnational movement. In the 1950s one figure, Bernardino del Boca di Villaregia, was particularly active in searching for homophile connections. He “represented” Italy at the first conference organized by the International Committee for Sexual Equality in 1951 in Amsterdam, he built strong ties with the Swiss Der Kreis, he tried not only to found an Italian homophile group but also to create an Italian homophile periodical. His projects were a failure. But such attempts were fruit of his connection with the homophile network. Del Boca was not the only one searching for contacts. There were many “independent” Italian queers who, not having a local homophile organization and looking for "friendly" and "understanding" spaces, tried to reach out to groups abroad. In this paper I will look at the ways in which the Swiss homophile organization not only shaped Del Boca’s projects, but also attracted attentions and hopes of many isolated Italian men who, in the 1950s and early 1960s, wrote letters to Der Kreis and published personal announcements on Das Kleine Blatt – the lonely heart supplement published by the Swiss organization – trying to escape from their isolation. Transnational physical and intellectual exchanges not only favored the more or less successful implementation of ambitious projects, but they also affected the lives of many queers desiring contacts. (Show less)



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