Julia Roos

Associate Professor, Department of History

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

I am a historian of modern Europe with a special focus on twentieth-century Germany, gender, and sexuality. My book on the history of prostitution in the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) explores how shifts in established gender relations and sexual mores after the First World War affected the stability of Germany’s first experiment in liberal-democratic government. Liberal gender reforms like the decriminalization of prostitution nourished a powerful right-wing backlash that played a major role in the destruction of Weimar democracy and the rise of National Socialism. From the example of Weimar, I have learned how important it is to integrate gender analysis into the study of politics and the state. In my research and teaching, I pay special attention to the relevance of conflicts over gender for larger processes of social, cultural, and political change. My current research focuses on the campaign against the “black horror on the Rhine,” a racist slogan against the stationing of French colonial soldiers from Africa in the German Rhineland after World War I.

Among the courses I have taught are surveys of German history from the Reformation to the present, as well as classes on women’s movements in modern Europe, the history of prostitution, and dictatorship in twentieth-century Europe.

Honors and Awards

  • College Arts and Humanities Institute Research Fellow, 2012-13
  • 2010 New Frontiers Exploration Traveling Fellowship, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • 2009 Travel and Research Grant, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University
  • 2009 Trustees' Teaching Award, Department of History, IUB
  • 2002 Fritz Stern Prize for the best dissertation in the field of German history submitted at a North American university, The German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

Research Interests

  • Modern Germany
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Comparative history of race
  • Military occupation and postwar society
  • Propaganda


  • M.A. at University of Bremen, Germany, 1994
  • M.A. at Carnegie Mellon University, 1995
  • Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, 2001

Courses Taught

  • H104: Europe, Napoleon to the Present
  • B260: Women, Men, and Society in Modern Europe
  • B377 & B378: History of Germany since 1648 I & II
  • J300: Contemporary Germany
  • J300: Gender History: The Case of the History of Prostitution
  • J400: European Social Movements, circa 1850 to the Present
  • H620 & H720: Twentieth-Century Europe
  • H620: Modern Europe through the Lens of Gender



  • Weimar through the Lens of Gender: Prostitution Reform, Woman's Emancipation, and German Democracy, 1919-1933. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010.


  •  “An Afro-German Microhistory: Gender, Religion, and the Challenges of Diasporic Dwelling,” Central European History vol. 49, no. 2 (June 2016): 240-60.

  • “‘Huns’ and Other ‘Barbarians’: A Movie Ban and the Dilemmas of 1920s German Propaganda against Colonial French Troops.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques 40, no. 1, special issue on “War, Occupation, and Empire in France and Germany” (spring 2014): 67-91.

  • “Racist Hysteria to Pragmatic Rapprochement? The German Debate about Rhenish ‘Occupation Children,’ 1920-1930,” Contemporary European History 22, no.2 (May 2013): 155-180.
  • “Nationalism, Racism, and Propaganda in Early Weimar Germany: Contradictions in the Campaign against the ‘Black Horror on the Rhine,’” German History 30, no. 1 (March 2012): 45-74.
  • “Women’s Rights, Nationalist Anxiety, and the ‘Moral’ Agenda in the Early Weimar Republic: Revisiting the ‘Black Horror’ Campaign against France’s African Occupation Troops,” Central European History 42, no. 3 (September 2009): 473-508.
  • “Backlash against Prostitutes’ Rights: Origins and Dynamics of Nazi Prostitution Policies,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 11, nos. 1/2 (January/April 2002): 67-94. Reprinted in Dagmar Herzog, ed., Sexuality and German Fascism. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2005.