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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The rise of the Bushman penis: Germans, genitalia and genocide
Author:Gordon, RobertISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:African Studies
Volume:57
Issue:1
Period:July
Pages:27-54
Language:English
Geographic terms:Namibia
Germany
Subjects:images
San
colonialism
sexuality
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=4C4FB8F39F9BFD91E81A
Abstract:In 1913 Eugene Fischer, professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at the University of Freiburg, wrote to the Governor of German South West Africa requesting that they mail him a preserved Bushman penis. Fischer's request was not an isolated whim of some eccentric scientist. By the era of high modernity which started at about the outbreak of World War I the body had become central to a sense of self-identity. Masculinity came to connote the so-called manly virtues like will-power, honour, courage and, above all, self-control. The male body symbolized society's need for order and progress. Bushmen male bodies, on the other hand, were well known for their effeminacy and delicacy with semi-erect penises, a condition widely believed in the bourgeois medical world to indicate lack of self-control. The Bushmen's alleged reluctance to engage in sustained work tied in with these dominant theories of uncontrolled sexuality. Diffusionist theories in German ethnology postulated a connection between Bushmen and Khoi on the one hand and Jews on the other hand. This seems to indicate that the Holocaust, often claimed to be unique in European history, has transcontinental and colonial roots. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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