I am a historian of modern Europe who specializes in twentieth-century Germany, gender, propaganda, and race. My research focuses on moments when traditional sexual, social, and/or racial hierarchies faced major new challenges. It situates German history within broader international and global contexts. My book on the history of prostitution in the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) explores how post-World War I shifts in established gender relations affected the stability of Germany’s first liberal-parliamentary democracy. Liberal gender reforms like the decriminalization of prostitution fueled a powerful right-wing backlash that played a major role in the destruction of Weimar democracy and rise of Nazism. I am currently completing a book about biracial “occupation children” born in Allied-occupied western Germany after 1918 and 1945, respectively. They were the German-born descendants of French and American soldiers of color. During the 1920s, nationalists blamed the first generation for Germany’s alleged “racial pollution.” In the Third Reich, hundreds of biracial "occupation children" were forcibly sterilized. In the 1950s, West German officials devised new guidelines for racial integration of the second (post-1945) generation. At the same time, the surviving members of the 1920s generation often fought in vain for public recognition and reparations. The history of the biracial descendants of the world wars sheds vital fresh light on the question of why it has been so difficult simultaneously to be both a person of color and German.
My teaching spans a broad range of time periods and topics including, for example, surveys of German history from the Reformation to the present; an introduction to European history (Napoleon to present); a course on the history, methods, and public significance of the historical discipline; and senior seminars on the history of prostitution and gender, and on post-World War I Europe and the world.