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Valentina Escherich

PhD Student

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Department of History
Rempartstraße 15
79085 Freiburg


Academic Career

Since June 2019 PhD Student with the Chair of Modern European History, Prof. Dr. Jörn Leonhard, University of Freiburg
2017–2019 Student Research Assistant with the Chair of Modern East European History, Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz, University of Freiburg
2015-2016 Modern History, Université de Haute Bretagne Rennes 2, France
2014-2019 M.A. Comparative Modern History, University of Freiburg
2011-2014 B.A. Early Modern and Modern History and Sociology, University of Freiburg

Scholarships and Awards

since Nov. 2021 PhD Scholarship of the Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg
Sept. - Okt. 2021 Research Scholarship of the German Historical Institute in Rome
Sept. - Okt. 2020 Research Scholarship of the German Historical Institute in Rome
2019 Alumni Prize for the master's dissertation on scientification and politication of female homosexuality in Germany between 1870 and 1914
2015–2016 ERASMUS+ Scholarship


7. Dezember 2020 Weibliche Homosexualität als Argument in politischen Debatten des Deutschen Kaiserreichs Lecture series: "Verschränkte Ungleichheiten in der Geschichte", Historisches Seminar, University of Freiburg
9. November 2019 Intergeschlechtlichkeit in der Geschichte Special Exhibition: "Intergeschlechtlichkeit - die Vielfalt der Geschlechter", UNIseum Freiburg, University of Freiburg
30. Mai 2019 Der Umgang mit Intergeschlechtlichkeit seit der Antike Special Exhibition: "Intergeschlechtlichkeit - die Vielfalt der Geschlechter", UNIseum Freiburg, University of Freiburg
24. Mai 2015 Die Deutung von Hermaphroditismus durch deutsche Mediziner um 1800 Student Lecture series: "Gender_Queer*Lectures Vol. 2", Regenbogen Referat für sexuelle und geschlechtliche Vielfalt, University of Freiburg




PhD Project

Between Scientification and Politicisation: A History of Knowledge of Female Homosexuality in German and Italy between 1869 and 1915

The project examines the category of female homosexuality with regard to its construction, dissemination and use in processes of social negotiation between 1869 and 1915. The focus is on Germany and Italy, since medical interpretations of female homosexuality emerged early on in both countries and were quickly disseminated thanks to comparatively mild censorship. The project examines four contexts of discussion, in which this category became effective: the criminal liability of homosexual acts, the legitimacy of women's rights demands, the state's treatment of prostitution and the protection of heterosexual women from female seduction.

By combining the approaches of the history of knowledge, the scientification of the social, the new political history and intersectionality research, the project breaks down common notions of a one-sided increase in the power of scientific interpretation as well as a frontal position of different groups of actors. In contrast, it shows the close interactions between scientification and politicisation, intersections of group affiliations and individual positioning, as well as the accompanying diversity of argumentative uses of scientific interpretations. Using the category of female homosexuality as an example, the project thus opens up fundamentally new insights into the field of tension between scientific and political change in the early 20th century.