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

Guest , Sarah Alicia (2011). Narrating the self – women in the professions in Germany 1900-1945. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Association for German Studies (AGS)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LA History of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages


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