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Edward Dickinson

Edward Dickinson


Davis , ca 95616


I studied at U.C. Santa Cruz (BA), Columbia University (MA), and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D.), completing my doctorate in 1991. My dissertation was on child welfare policy in Germany, 1880-1961. From 1991 to 2000, I taught at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand; from 2002 to 2007 I taught at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Research Interests

I have a long-term interest in social policy, and have published on a range of topics in that field--the history of the German child welfare system, welfare policy in New Zealand, the political dynamics of modern social policy, reformatory education, vocational education, and social reform movements more broadly.  I moved on from there to study the history of sexuality in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Central Europe.  I have published on feminism and sexual morality, sexual radicalism, conservative Christian men's morality organizations, the comparative policing of sex crimes (in Germany, France, Italy, Britain, and Massachusetts), and the social roots and political dynamics of the broader debate about sexuality (sexual morality, public decency, population policy, venereal disease, homosexuality, etc.) in Germany around the turn of the twentieth century.  I am currently finishing a book on the politics of sexuality in Germany from World War I to the early years of the Nazi regime.  In the past few years I have been teaching, and pursuing extensive quantitative research, in world history; my book-length interpretive essay on the history of the world in the long twentieth century should appear in 2016. More recently I have also turned to the history of popular culture and recreation, focusing on the politics of truth and beauty in popular and middle-class cultural life.  My next book projects are on modern dance in Europe before World War I and on hiking clubs and the politics of recreation and conservation in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.



Sex, Freedom, and Power in Imperial Germany, 1880-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

The Politics of German Child Welfare from the Empire to the Federal Republic (Harvard University Press, 1996) 

"Complexity, Contingency, and Coherence in the History of Sexuality in Germany," Central European History 49 (2016): 93-116

"Modern Dance before 1914: Commerce or Religion?," Dance Chronicle 36 (2013)

"'Must We Dance Naked?' Art, Beauty, and Politics in Munich and Paris, 1911 and 1913," Journal of the History of Sexuality 20 (2011)

"'A Dark, Impenetrable Wall of Complete Incomprehension': The Impossibility of Heterosexual Love in Imperial Germany," Central European History 40 (2007), excerpted in The History of Sexuality in Europe: A Reader and Sourcebook, ed. Anna Clark (New York: Routledge, 2011)

"Not So Scary After All? Reform in Imperial and Weimar Germany," Central European History 43 (2010)

"Altitude and Whiteness: Germanizing the Alps and Alpinizing the Germans, 1875-1935" German Studies Review 33 (2010)

"The German Empire: An Empire?" History Workshop Journal 66 (2008)

"The Bourgeoisie and Reform," in Germany 1871-1918 (Oxford Short History of Germany), ed. James Retallack (Oxford University Press, 2007)

"Policing Sex in Germany, 1882-1982: A Preliminary Statistical Analysis" (Journal of the History of Sexuality, 2007) 

"Dominion of the Spirit Over the Flesh: Religion and Sexuality in the German Women's Movements before 1914," Gender and History 17 (2005)

"The Historiography of Sexuality in Modern Germany," German History 23 (2005)(with Richard Wetzell)

"Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Reflections On Our Discourse Concerning 'Modernity,'" Central European History 37 (2004)

"The Men's Christian Morality Movement in Germany, 1880-1914: Some Reflections on Sex, Politics, and Sexual Politics," Journal of Modern History 75 (2003)

"'Until the Stubborn Will Is Broken': Crisis and Reform in Prussian Reformatory Education, 1900-1933" European History Quarterly 32:2 (2002)

"Sex and the 'Yellow Peril': Christian von Ehrenfels' Program for the Revision of the European Sexual Order, 1902-1910," German Studies Review 25:2 (2002)

"Reflections on Feminism and Monism in the Kaiserreich, 1900-1913," Central European History 34 (2001)

"Citizenship, Reaction, and Technical Education: Vocational Schooling and the Prussian 'Youth Cultivation' Decree of 1911," European History Quarterly 29 (1999)

"Welfare, Democracy, Fascism: The Political Crisis in German Child Welfare, 1922-1933," German Studies Review 22 (1999)

"Liberalism with a Vengeance? New Studies of the Welfare State in New Zealand," Kotare 2 (1999)

Research Interests: