Laurie Marhoefer (he or they)

Director of Undergraduate Studies
L. Marhoefer headshot, Seoul, Korea, 2023

Contact Information

Office Hours
email for an appt


Ph.D. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 2008
B.A. Columbia, 2000

I am a historian of queer and trans people in Weimar and Nazi Germany. My work has been influential in international discussions of trans and lesbian persecution in Nazi Germany.

My new book, Racism and the Making of Gay Rights: A Sexologist, his Student, and the Empire of Queer Love chronicles the 1931 world journey of Li Shiu Tong and Magnus Hirschfeld. It shows how racism, eugenics, and other disturbing ideas formed the foundation of modern gay rights, and how yet, it did not have to be that way. A double biography of Li and Hirschfeld, it is the first extended examination of Li's life and of his own sexology, which ditched his mentor's core ideas. A 2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title, it was short-listed for the Glasscock Book Prize (2023).

Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis (2015) reexamines the gay and trans rights movements of the 1920s, which were the world's first, and asks what they had to do with fascism. I also write for the national press on things like trans women in Nazi Germany, neo-Nazism, queer fascism, and the history of AIDS. If you're interested, Ben Miller's interview on Bad Gays is a good overview of some of my work.

Current projects include a book on trans people and other sex/gender "criminals" in Nazi Germanya book on transness and the theory of history, and a book on the people and places of trans 1920s Berlin.

I'm affiliated with the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies (check out the Jewish Questions podcast), the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and the Department of Germanics. I co-teach on the global history of AIDS with Lynn M. Thomas.

*Prospective grad students please feel free to email ahead of applying.


Selected Research

Courses Taught

Graduate Study Areas

A note to prospective graduate students: I will not be accepting new students as primary advisor for the 2022-23 academic year. 

Division: Europe--Medieval to Modern Times

Students preparing this field with Professor Marhoefer will study the social, cultural, and political history of Germany, German-speaking Europe, and Germany’s global colonial empire from the late eighteenth century to the present.

Division: Comparative History--Comparative Gender & Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism

A field in comparative gender directed by Professor Marhoefer will examine the transnational histories of gender and sexuality, as well as the closely related histories of class, race, and empire, especially within modern Europe and its colonies.

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