Dr Katie Sutton

PhD (Melb), BA (Hons) (Melb)
German and Gender Studies, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • German Language 200307
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality 200205
  • European History (Excl. British, Classical Greek And Roman) 210307

Research interests

My research and teaching interests focus particularly on German 20th and 21st-century culture, literature, and history, from the social and cultural upheaval of the Weimar Republic to the German cinema revival of the 2000s. Much of my research deals with the history of gender and sexuality. My current monograph project examines the interdisciplinary relationships and debates between sexology and psychoanalysis from the turn of the 20th century through to the interwar period. I am also working on several articles exploring the role of photography and film in early 20th-century sex research.

“Sex between Body and Mind: Encounters between Psychoanalysis and Sexology in the German-speaking World, 1890s-1930s” (University of Michigan Press, in press) focuses primarily on researchers working in Germany, Austria and Switzerland from the 1890s through to the onset of National Socialism, including Sigmund Freud, Magnus Hirschfeld, Albert Moll, Eugen Steinach, and Wilhelm Stekel. Examining heated debates around the sexual life of the child, the nature of shellshock, the origins of homosexuality, and the role of the sex hormones, this monograph will offer the first truly cross-disciplinary account of the making of sex as an object of “scientific” study in modernity. It also engages with the broader political and cultural contexts in which these debates occurred, such as questions of military suitability during WWI, and the dissemination of sexological and psychoanalytic knowledge to broader publics via the media, film, and the emerging homosexual and transgender rights movements.

My first book, The Masculine Woman in Weimar Germany (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011, pb. 2013) explored the widely-discussed 'masculinization of woman' in 1920s German popular culture, in areas such as fashion, sport, literature, cinema, and magazines produced by newly emerging sexual minorities. It traces the connotations and controversies surrounding this figure from her rise to media prominence in the early 1920s until the beginning of the Nazi period. By focusing on styles, bodies and identities that did not conform to societal norms of binary gender or heterosexuality, this book contributes to our understanding of gendered lives and experiences at this pivotal juncture in German history. Reviews: American Historical Review, Choice, German Quarterly, German Studies Review, German History, The Historian, Seminar, Women's History Review, Women in German Newsletter. (See link to website below.)

Case Studies and the Dissemination of Knowledge (New York: Routledge, 2015), co-edited with Joy Damousi and Birgit Lang (University of Melbourne) is one of the outcomes of the ARC Discovery Project "Making the Case: The Case Study Genre in Sexology, Psychoanalysis, and Literature" (2010-2014). This collection challenges the limits of disciplinary-based research in the humanities, examining how cases serve as a means of passage between disciplines, genres, and publics, from law to psychoanalysis, and from auto/biography to modernist fiction. Its chapters position the case at the center of cultural and social understandings of the emergence of modern subjectivities. (See link to website below.)

Researcher's projects

Past Grants and Awards

2010-2014: Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in conjunction with ARC Discovery Project "Making the Case: The Case Study Genre in Sexology, Psychoanalysis and Literature," Chief Investigators Dr Birgit Lang and Professor Joy Damousi, University of Melbourne

2009-2010: German Academic Exchange Service postdoctoral fellowship, University of Potsdam, Germany

2009 Women in German Dissertation Prize (USA)

2009 Stiftung für Deutsch-Amerikanische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen (SDAW) / German Studies Association (GSA) Award for Best Paper by a Social Scientist within Five Years of the Doctorate. Paper presented at the GSA annual meeting in St Paul, MI, 2008.

Current student projects

PhD Panels:

Tania Evans. Thesis working title: "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things: Masculinities in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire" (since 2015)

Jonathon Zapasnik. Thesis working title: "Toxic Proximities: A Symptomatological Reading of Intimacy in Anglophone HIV/AIDS Life Writing" (since 2014)

Past student projects


Matthew Hicks .Thesis working title: "Sprachliche Unterdrückung. Zur Stellung von LGBT-Menschen im Deutschen" (co-supervised with Gabriele Schmidt, completed sem. 2, 2017)

James Prindiville. Thesis title: "Mythos, Nostalgie und Melancholie in Ernst Marischkas "Sissi"-Filmen und ihr Einfluss auf die österreichische nationale Identität (completed sem. 1, 2017)

Ruohan Zhao. Thesis title: "Ost, West und alles dazwischen: Verhandlung, Versöhnung und chinesisch-deutsche hybride Identitäten in der deutschen Gegenwartsliteratur" (completed sem. 2, 2016)

Ji-Soo Kweon. Thesis title: "All Adventurous Women are White, All the Queers are Men, And Most of Us Are Missing: Post-feminism and Intersectionality in Sex and the City and Girls" (co-supervised with Rosanne Kennedy, completed sem. 2, 2016)

Natasha Seymour. Thesis title: "Understanding and Articulating the "In Between": Transgender Embodiment in Culture" (completed sem. 1, 2016)



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Updated:  16 February 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers