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I would very much like to present a paper in the conference, that would discuss the intellectual origin of the movement's brief adoption of a peculiar discourse and practice of sexuality and eroticism, that of the Maennerbund and the erotic male society. In my dissertation I looked at how the young Westernized Galician men of the movement were enchanted by, and adopted (for a brief period) Hans Blueher's theory of Maennerbund. This theory, first formulated in Blueher's history of the Wandervogel (published in Berlin in 1912) postulated that in search of the reasons for the rise of civilizations one should not be looking for economic, religious or political factors, but rather for the presence of a male-male erotic secret society. This idea was adopted in Vienna, though its origin as a sociological or pseudo-sociological category is not Viennese but more specifically German. The German philosopher and thinker Hans Blueher (1888-1955), a controversial publicist and private scholar, was the first to popularize this novel theory. As is well known, he was then banned from the Wandervogel because of the "homosexual" overtones of his theory.

In the framework of the conference I propose to describe his theory in detail and also bring into discussion the social and economic background for the rise of the male-male erotic bonding among young men in Germany, most vividly experienced in the context of the Wandervogel - the first free German youth movement which began its activities in Steglitz (Berlin) around 1896 and onwards.

Contemporary intellectual formulations followed suite as an awareness of the Maennerbund as an anthropological and then historical phenomenon arose in Germany, in my opinion, in conjunction with the rise of a real "human figuration." In 1902 the ethnographer Heinrich Schurtz (1863-1903) published his most important book, Alterklassen und Maennerbünde: Eine Darstellung der Grundformen der Gesellschaft (Age groups and male societies: an exploration of the basic forms of society), a study of secret male societies in remote African tribes. Then of course came Blueher with two key and highly controversial publications in 1911 and 1917. Blueher explained the rise of the German middle class youth movement as driven by a current of passion that found its release and its most pure expression in male erotic bonding. My hypothesis is that Blueher proposed a grand theory of civilization which was based on a "human figuration" that was intensely experienced, especially in Germany, in two socio-historical contexts: the turn of the century youth movement and its tragic culmination in the trench experience of WWI. The rise of this human figuration and the formulation of theories based on it in the first decade of the century in Berlin had, in my opinion, far reaching repercussions for the rise of male-male erotic self awareness among "homosexuals" as well as their haters and their subsequent annihilators during WWII.

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