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Narrating the self – women in the professions in Germany 1900-1945

Guest , Sarah Alicia (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Women’s perception of university education and professional life during the period 1900 to 1945 is the focus of this study. In order to examine these perceptions, the thesis undertakes a close textual analysis of autobiographical writings by two medical doctors, Rahel Straus (1880-1963) and Charlotte Wolff (1897-1986) and the aviator Elly Beinhorn (1907-2007). The images employed in these texts indicate the intricate ways that individual women in the professions define their sense of who they are in relation to their surroundings and how that sense may shift in different settings and at different times, or may ostensibly not shift at all. I have developed a differentiated language for the purposes of articulating the fluidity. This language allows me to take apart narrative levels and to examine the importance that is attached to gender in relation to religion, race, nationality, sexuality and professional identities. Through differentiating between narrative levels I am able to juxtapose life experiences that at first glance seem unconnected and to show this can be done without imposing binary classifications such as ‘emancipated’ or ‘un-emancipated’, as ‘political’ or ‘apolitical’ or ‘victim’ or ‘perpetrator’. The language that I have developed enables me to explore the articulation of self where it cannot be classified and where self should not be judged.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Whittle, Ruth
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of German Studies
Subjects:BF Psychology
HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
HT Communities. Classes. Races
LA History of education
LB2300 Higher Education
PD Germanic languages
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2967
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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