Cameron McKee

Visible Anxiety and the Dreyfus Affair: Exploring Jewishness and Homosexuality as Deviant Identities in fin-de siècle France

The arrest of the Jewish artillery officer, Alfred Dreyfus, in 1894 caused an eruption of the anxieties surrounding french degeneration inthe the forefront of the public sphere. Dreyfus , an Alsatian-Jewish minor artillery officer, was accused, convicted, and exiled for allegedly communicating French military secrets to Maximillian von Schwartzkoppen, the German attaché in Paris. Convicted under the auspices of undeniably forged documents, the intense publicity of the Dreyfus Affair inaugurated the dichotomized French body politic.

My study of the Dreyfus Affair focuses primarily on the articulation of two minority identiteis, Jewishness and male homosexuality, in fin-de siècle France as they were related to the cultural fervor inspired by the Affair. Rooted in the racialized cartoons by Jean-Louis Forain and Caran d’Ache in the French anti-Dreyfusard press, my thesis will give signifcant weight to French visual culture at the end of the century as the means through which radical anti-Semitism and homophobia were articulated.