Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Erziehungswissenschaft mit den Schwerpunkten Gender und Diversität

Sex Education - Quo vadis? EN


Thursday 5th May & Friday 6th May 2022 at Bergische Universität in Wuppertal


organized by: Rita Casale, Anna Hartmann (Wuppertal) & Jeannette Windheuser (Berlin)

supported by: DFG and the 14th price for equal treatment by the BUW (2019)


In recent years, sex education has been perceived as a European task in public health. Especially the educational institutions – such as schools or Kindergarten – are gaining more importance as a place of mediation.

In this context, the relationship between sexuality and pedagogy, once again, has been a subject of debate in Germany. This connection has already been discussed enthusiastically during the (so-called) sexual revolution in the late 1960s. At the same time, a debate about the importance of sex education had taken place.

While the debate was characterized by a plurality of different sexual education approaches, it is now, in contrast, dominated by a specific theoretical uniformity. With the concept of Sexuelle Bildung, a sex education concept predominates the discussion in Germany that emphasizes the ‘self-formation’; and ‘autonomy’; of the subjects. Thus, the concept displaces the moment of relationality. Although gender is an obvious part of sex education today, unlike in the 1960s, questions of relationality or care and gender hierarchy are rarely discussed.

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While in the present a sexual education concept is being explored in which satisfaction and happiness are central, the theoretical debate as well as the practice are limited to one approach. This theoretical development challenges both educational science and gender studies to determine the relationship between sexuality and pedagogy.

We want to ask what changes in knowledge, theory and social history this concept of sexual education is based on. We are also interested in the consequences for theoretical and empirical research. Furthermore, we want to clarify to what extent this concept of sexual education can adequately address the current conditions of education and the problems of (post-)patriarchal gender relations in theory and practice. This question is of particular importance because right-wing conservative forces are increasingly appropriating the negotiation of sexuality, gender and pedagogy.

In the context of the planned symposium, we want to encourage an interdisciplinary exchange on previously underexposed topics concerning the relationship between sexuality, gender and pedagogy. From different theoretical perspectives (philosophy of education, gender theory, psychoanalysis and body history) we want to ask about the changes in generational and gender relations and the resulting consequences for education.