The Fears of Gay Teachers and the Collectivizing Effects of Emotion Work
Affects, Emotions, and Emotion Work in the History of the Working Group of Homosexual Teachers and Educators in the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft Berlin 1978–1991
This article examines how the formation of the Working Group of Homosexual Teachers and Educators in the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (German Education Union, GEW) in 1978 was influenced by the affect of fear, and how emotion work emerged as a key aspect of the formation and collectivisation of the group in its first decade until 1991. To this end, we review the state of affect and emotion research in German queer history, analyse the role of fear in the formation of the group in the late 1970s, and explore the group's continued emotion work in the 1980s. We deliberately highlight the aspects of fear and emotion work: while queer and trans studies have paid much attention to anger (Stryker 1994; Landridge 2008; Milani 2021; Malatino 2022), the same cannot be said for fearful emotional states. Although there is a growing body of work on affect and emotion in German queer history, emotion work has only been implicitly addressed. We therefore highlight the role of both fear and emotion work in the history of the GEW's Working Group of Homosexual Teachers and Educators between 1978 and 1991. In discussing the history of the group, we show how not only affect and emotion but also emotion work can be key to historical change, and we touch on the question of how productive the historiographical distinction between affect and emotion is.
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