SFB 1150 - Cultures of Decision-Making

Part A 05

Collaborative Research Centre / SFB 1150 „Cultures of Decision-Making“

The Collaborative Research Centre / SFB 1150 „Cultures of Decision-Making“ is being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at the University of Muenster since July 2015. In the SFB 1150 over fifty junior and senior researchers from several disciplines (history, literature, law, philosophy, cultural anthropology, Jewish and Byzantine studies) work together to investigate social practices and cultural conditions of decision-making in a historical and interdisciplinary perspective form the Middle Ages to the present. It comprises three Project Areas with twenty subprojects as well as a graduate school.

Our Project: Section A05 - Between Privacy and the Public Debate: Decisions on Reproduction in Germany and the US in the Second Half of the 20th Century

The project examines how reproduction became the subject of private and political decision-making in Germany and the US in the second half of the 20th century. It inquires into how the popularization of medical knowledge as well as processes of individualization and liberalization have interacted. It also asks how decisions on reproduction have been framed by public debates, political and legal attempts at standardization, and by expert interventions.

Head: Isabel Heinemann

Research Assistant: Verena Limper

More

Emmy Noether Junior Research Group:

Family Values and Social Change: The US-American Family in the 20th Century


Isabel Heinemann (Habilitation): Familienwerte im gesellschaftlichen Wandel: Öffentliche Debatten über Ehescheidung, Frauenarbeit und Reproduktion in den USA des 20. Jahrhunderts ... weitere Infos

Anne Overbeck (Dissertation): Eugenics and the Discourse on the Reproductive Rights of African American Women in the 20th Century ...

Claudia Roesch (Dissertation): Mexican Immigrant Families, Social Experts, Social Work and Changing Family Values in the 20th Century United States ... weitere Infos

Andre Dechert (Dissertation): "Dad on Tv": Public Debates on Representations of Fatherhood in US-American TV-Sitcoms of the 1980s ...

Mit der Untersuchung des Schicksals polnischer und sowjetischer Kinder von NS-Zwangsarbeiterinnen berührt das Forschungsprojekt einen neuralgischen Punkt im Spannungsfeld zwischen Arbeitseinsatz- und Rassenpolitik im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Die von SS-Rasseexperten als „schlechtrassig“ erachteten Kinder wurden durch die jeweiligen Arbeitgeber von ihren Eltern getrennt und in sogenannten „Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätten“ isoliert, wo viele von ihnen aufgrund umfassender Vernachlässigung starben. Darüber hinaus versuchten die zuständigen Behörden „rassisch unerwünschten Nachwuchs“ durch Zwangsabtreibungen zu unterbinden. „Wertvolle“ Neugeborene hingegen wurden nach dem Willen Himmlers in Heimen der NSV oder des „Lebensborn e.V.“ zwangsweise „eingedeutscht“.

Obwohl es sich bei den „Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätten“ in Verbindung mit Rasseprüfungen und Schwangerschaftsabbrüchen bei Zwangsarbeiterinnen um ein zentrales Projekt der NS-Vernichtungspolitik handelte, das tiefgreifend in Ideologie, Politik und Kriegswirtschaft des Regimes verwurzelt war, existieren zu diesem Themenkomplex nur wenige Regionalstudien. Das vorliegende Projekt hat das Ziel, unter Rückgriff auf die bislang marginalisierte Opfergruppe der polnischen und sowjetischen „Zwangsarbeiterkinder“, einen neuen Zugang zur Alltags- und Geschlechtergeschichte sowie zur Geschichte von Reproduktionsentscheidungen unter den Bedingungen von Diktatur, Zwang und Gewalt zu entwickeln. Eine wesentliche Grundlage bilden dabei neu zugängliche Quellen des International Tracing Services in Bad Arolsen sowie bislang unerfasste Prozess- und Ermittlungsakten zu deutschen Kriegsverbrechen aus Archiven in Polen und London. Ein besonderer Fokus des Projekts liegt auf den Aushandlungsprozessen zwischen rassenpolitischen Zielsetzungen und wirtschaftlichen Interessen unter Berücksichtigung der Institutionen, Orte, Opfer und Täter.

Projektleitung: Isabel Heinemann, Bearbeiter: Marcel Brüntrup

Conferences
Reproductive Decision Making in Comparative Context
© SFB 1150

The workshop will explore reproductive decision making in five different countries [US, West Germany, Sweden, lreland, and the Soviet Union] in the 1970s and onward. The conditions of women's reproductive autonomy underwent a significant shift in the early 1970s. As a result of the second wave feminist movement, a number of countries decriminalized abortion. In addition, the introduction of modern contraceptives such as the IUD and the birth control pill significantly changed women's ability to control reproduction and space childbearing. But these changes were highly contested. Liberal reform did not occur uniformly across different countries. And even in the most liberal settings the relaxation of laws governing birth control and abortion precipitated powerful conservative backlashes.

This conference will explore how - in this period of significant social change - women were perceived as moral decision
makers. We are asking: Under what conditions were women considered able to make moral decisions regarding reproduction? When and under what pretense did women gain or were denied reproductive decision-making? How did others [family members, health care providers, clergy, the state etc.] claim the right to decide on behalf of women? What role did moral arguments play in relation to abortion, adoption, and contraception?

This volume is the first to  compare the conditions of women's reproductive decision making in different political and religious contexts. Case studies in this volume analyze communist and post-communist Soviet Union, catholic lreland, and democratic countries with varying legacies of state control of reproduction [Sweden with a long history of state control in reproduction, the US with strong pro-life challenges to legal abortion, West Germany as a welfare state struggling with its Nazi legacy]. This comparative approach allows us to draw on the differences and continuities as political and religious contexts influence understanding of women's reproductive decision making during the 1970s and 80s. Papers discussed at the conference will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Modem European History in early 2018 (after peer review).