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Department of Cultural Studies
Completed Research Projects

Aufbruch in die Moderne: (1890–1960): Gender Studies in interdisciplinary Music Literature Research

Project duration: 07/01/2017 –09/30/2022

Schwarz-Weiß-Aufnahme von Frau (Margarete Quidde) in Wohnraum © Münchner Stadtmuseum
Portrait Margarethe Quidde
Handgeschriebener Text auf vergilbtem Papier: Tagebucheintrag von Margarete Quidde © Münchner Stadtbibliothek ​/​ Monacensia
Margarethe Quidde: Tagebucheintrag vom 03.02.1926

Project description

The project "Aufbruch in die Moderne (1890–1960): Gender Studies in der interdisziplinären Musikliteraturforschung", funded by the Mariann Steegmann Foundation, sets itself methodological, discourse-critical and historiographical research goals.  On the one hand, the possibilities and benefits of current developments in gender research in the humanities and social sciences in the interdisciplinary field of music literature research on the 20th century are to be explored. On the other hand, the works of authors who have been intensively researched in music literature (such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann or Thomas Bernhard) are to be contrasted with those of largely forgotten but musically profoundly trained female authors from a canon-critical point of view. Last but not least, the project will test the networking of different approaches and institutions of diversity-oriented music literature studies. In this context, the project will focus in particular on questions of authorship research.

The project also responds to current developments in the humanities and social sciences in combining gender studies approaches with multiple approaches from diversity research. The aim is to examine what new results can be achieved by replacing gender as the sole category of analysis with interdependent categories such as ethnicity, age, religion, social milieu and others. Historiographically, the project closes the research gap between the fin de siècle and postmodernism in order to be able to extend from the well-studied music-literary discourses of the 19th century to the new approaches after 1960. The results of gender-oriented music literature research on the 20th century will be examined in terms of change and continuity in aesthetic communication. Approaches from popular studies are particularly relevant here.

The first and now completed aim of the project was to compile a thematically relevant and complete bibliography of works by selected, now largely forgotten female authors such as Anna Benfey-Schuppe (1830–1903), Clara Mathilde Faißt (1872–1948), Auguste Götze (1840–1908), Catharina Haaß (1844–1916), Annette Kolb (1870–1967), Anna Morsch (1841–1916), Annie Neumann-Hofer (1867–1944), Margarethe Quidde (1858–1940), Aline Valangin (1889–1986).


Seite mit Schreibmaschinentext: Erinnerungen von Aline Valangin © Sozialarchiv Zürich
Aline Valagin: Erinnerungen
Schwarz-Weiß-Aufnahme einer Frau (Anette Kolb) mit Hut und ausgebreiteten Armen in Wohnzimmer © Münchner Stadtmuseum
Portrait Annette Kolb

The bibliography serves as a starting point for studies in music literature that focus on approaches from intersectionality research. At the center of the investigations are, for example, the respective professionalization strategies that were not successful in the music business, but were available to the authors in the literary business. Another research focus is the socially interdependent roles that the authors problematize in their texts, such as wives, hosts, networkers and, last but not least, professional musicians. Poetological problems also play a role in these questions, for example whether and to what extent gender-specific literary genres and their pragmatics (letters, diaries, song lyrics, serialized novels, etc.) are linked to the economic aspects. Furthermore, it is important to clarify which poetological and rhetorical traditions these texts are connected to and – last but not least – how the intricate link between gender difference and music relates to other identitary aspects such as social origin, educational milieu, age, religion or ethnicity.

Final conference

"Große und feine Unterschiede. Populäre Genres in Literatur, Musik und Film von der Gründerzeit bis in die Weimarer Republik". June 23 to 25, 2021, Evangelische Akademie Hofgeismar.

Project team

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Nieberle

Charlotte Lenger

Anna Olivari