|The department of sexual ethnology was devoted to studying the "influence of the sexual factor on other cultural phenomena, such as art, religion, the mixing of peoples and international understanding as well as the history of human sexual life". The department existed from the appointment of Baron Ferdinand von Reitzenstein as director in 1922 until his illness in 1926.
Like Hans Friedenthal, his colleague at the Institute, Reitzenstein's specialty was "the anthropology of woman" 1 - 7 - a field of research extraordinarily popular at the time. His objects of study were the history of love and marriage and of matriarchy.
Reitzenstein's ideas proceeded from the notion of a natural division of labour between the sexes, which, he believed, was still present among "primitive" peoples, but needed to be redefined among "civilized" ones.
He denounced prostitution and the blurring of the differences between the sexes as unfortunate phenomena of his own day 8 9 10 11 .
"If woman represents only an interesting segment of cultural history, a monograph of man would virtually represent cultural history itself..., yet not as the modern women's movement would have it presented, as a consequence of 'brutal oppression', but rather as an evolution based on purely physiological and psychological factors. ... The only justifiable women's movement will always be one that educates woman for her original cultural world, the cultural circle of the mother... " (Reitzenstein 1923)
Reitzenstein's assessment of ethnological observations according to Eurocentric aesthetic and moral standards is conspicuous in such works as "Das Weib bei den Naturvölkern" (Woman among Primitive Peoples).
The quotations in the picture examples are taken from the widely published book by Reitzenstein "Das Weib bei den Naturvölkern". Today, they have to be read as extremely racist, sexist and Eurocentric.