Tom Butcher

Lecturer

434-924-6420
Nau 336
Office Hours: Tuesday, 2:00–4:00

Field & Specialties

Modern Europe, Germany and Austria
History of Sex and Gender, History of Ideas, History of Science

Education

PhD (History), University of Virginia, 2018

  • Dissertation: “Sexual Spectra: Biology and Sexual Politics in Europe, 1896–1933”
  • Defense Panel: Allan Megill (chair); Alon Confino; Corinne Field; Rita Felski

MA (History), University of Virginia, 2013

  • Thesis: “Physical Space, ‘Synchronized Attack,’ and Genos in Raphael Lemkin’s Conception of Genocide”

BA (majors: IPH & German; minor: History), Washington University in St. Louis, 2010

  • Thesis: “Memories of the Past, Identities of the Future: Prescriptive Discourses of German National Identity in the Historikerstreit
  • Magna cum laude

Publications

Articles

  • 2013
    • (as Thomas M. Butcher) “A ‘Synchronized Attack’: On Raphael Lemkin’s Holistic Conception of Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 15, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 253–272. doi: 10.1080/14623528.2013.821221

Conferences: Paper Presentations

  • 2019
    • “Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Magnus Hirschfeld: Queer Patriots?” The Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. Chicago, IL. January 3–6.
  • 2018
    • “Fountain of Virility: On the Gendering and Sexing of Old Age in Eugen Steinach’s ‘Rejuventation’ Procedure.” The Annual Conference of the German Studies Association. Pittsburgh, PA. September 27–30.
    • “Sexual Silences: Reading between the Lines in the Eugen Steinach-Harry Benjamin Correspondence.” Humanities for STEM Research Collaborative Symposium. New York University. April 6–7.
  • 2017
    • “Emancipatory Essentialism: On Magnus Hirschfeld’s Liberal Bio-Determinism in the German Campaign for Homosexual Rights, 1898-1933.” The Annual Conference of the German Studies Association. Atlanta, GA. October 5–8.
    •  “Plastic Sex, Binary Gender: On Eugen Steinach’s Failed Endocrinological Cure for Homosexuality.” The Annual Conference of the Northeast Modern Language Association. Baltimore, MD. March 23–26.
    •  “From Geschlecht und Charakter to Sexual Liberation: On an Unexpected Point of Agreement between Otto Weininger and (Some) German and Austrian Feminists.” The Annual Conference of the Austrian Studies Association. Chicago, IL. March 16–19.
    •  “A Political Choice: On the Liberal Implications of Bio-Determinism in the Fight for Gay Rights in Germany, 1898–1933.” The What Is and How to Do LGBT History Conference. Liverpool, England. March 3–5.
  • 2016
    • Sexual Science and Gendered Interpretations in the Endocrinological Research of Eugen Steinach.” The Associated Colleges of the South Gender Studies Conference. Georgetown, TX. February 19–21.

Conferences: Other Roles

  • 2019
    • Panel Organizer, “Sexology, Legal Activism, and the Question of Queer Patriotism in Germany, 1870–1970.” The Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. Chicago, IL. January 3–6. Sponsors: The Committee for LGBT History, the Central European History Society, and the German Historical Institute.
  • 2018
    • Panel Moderator, “Changing Concepts of Sex and Gender in the 18th and 19thCenturies.” The Annual Conference of the German Studies Association. Pittsburgh, PA. September 27–30.

Campus Talks

  • 2016
    • “Using Gender in the Development of a Historical Argument.” Guest Lecture, “Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies” Course. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. April 13.

Work In Progress

  • No True Man: The Biology and Politics of Sexual Intermediacy in Europe, 1896–1945. Book manuscript (expected submission of proposal to presses by the end of 2018).
  • “Fountain of Virility: On the Gendering and Sexing of Old Age in Eugen Steinach’s ‘Rejuventation’ Procedure.” Article manuscript (expected submission to journals in September 2018).

Current Research

In my dissertation, “Sexual Spectra: Biology and Sexual Politics in Europe, 1896–1933,” I investigated early-twentieth-century definitions of biological sex—by which I mean sexual designations (such as female or intersex) derived from biological data. On the basis of archival research conducted in Germany, Austria, and the US, I show that many scientists, philosophers, and activists in the early twentieth century drew from recent findings in endocrinology to posit a non-binary definition of sex. Specifically, they held that there are an infinite number of intermediary sexes occupying the positions between “male” and “female” ideal types. This new conception of sex offered a powerful vocabulary for the legal and cultural emancipation of women and sexual minorities, but it was also adopted by culturally conservative thinkers, who found therein a way of reinforcing gender hierarchies common to early-twentieth-century Europe.

Within the next three years, I plan to revise my dissertation into a book, tentatively titled No True Man: The Biology and Politics of Sexual Intermediacy in Europe, 1896–1945. I am currently developing a proposal to submit to the University of Chicago by the end of 2018. In my future scholarship, I plan to launch a new project investigating the role that sexological research played in encouraging homosexual liberation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although post-Foucauldian scholars have tended to view sexology as a means of controlling aberrant sexual practices through stigmatization, many inverts, transvestites, and other historically queer people became aware of the vast multitude of human sexual expression through exposure to sexological information, which led them to view their sexual practices as being neither as rare nor as unnatural as they had feared. My project will show how many sexologists, especially those who were themselves homosexual, saw their scientific project as a means of realizing a broader ideal of sexual liberation.

Awards & Honors

2017

  • Finalist for the Woodrow Wilson Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies; The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
  • Huskey Travel Fund Grant; Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

2016

  • Quinn Fellowship; The Doris G. Quinn Foundation
  • The Seven Society Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching; The Seven Society, University of Virginia
  • Huskey Travel Fund Grant, University of Virginia, Corcoran Department of History 

2015

  • Summer Research Travel Grant, University of Virginia, Corcoran Department of History
  • Dumas Malone Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation

2012

  • History Department Graduate Teaching Award, University of Virginia, Teaching Resource Center

2011

  • Summer Foreign Language Fellowship, University of Virginia, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

2010

  • Departmental Fellowship, University of Virginia, Corcoran Department of History

Courses Taught

Lecturer, University of Virginia

  • Queer European History (WGS 3559-003), Fall 2017, Spring 2019
  • Nation & Identity in Modern European History (HIEU 1502), Fall 2018

Teaching Assistant,  University of Virginia:

  • Genocide (HIST 3281), Prof. Jeffrey Rossman, Fall 2016
  • Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGS 2100), Prof. Corinne Field, Spring 2016
  • Core Seminar in Political and Social Thought II (PST 4870), Prof. Michael Smith, Spring 2015; Prof. Allan Megill, Spring 2014
  • Core Seminar in Political and Social Thought I (PST 4850), Prof. Michael Smith, Fall 2014
  • Origins of Contemporary Thought (HIEU 3802), Prof. Allan Megill, Fall 2013 & Fall 2011
  • Origins of Modern Thought (HIEU 3782), Prof. Allan Megill, Spring 2013
  • History of Human Rights (HIST 2011), Prof. James Loeffler, Fall 2012
  • Russia since 1917 (HIEU 2162), Prof. Jeffrey Rossman, Spring 2012

Grading Assistant, University of Virginia:

  • Marxism (HIEU 3812), Prof. Allan Megill, Spring 2011

Media Appearances: