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Laurie Marhoefer (he/him or she/her)

Associate Professor

Contact Information

SMI 118
Office Hours: 
by appointment


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

I am a historian of queer and trans politics. My book on fascism and the politics of sex is Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis (2015); it reexamines the gay and trans rights movements of the 1920s, which were the world's first. My work has been published in The American Historical Review and elsewhere. I also write for the press on things like neo-Nazism, queer fascism, and the history of AIDS.

I'm currently working on two books. The first, Empire of Queer Love: How Magnus Hirschfeld Made the Modern Homosexual, examines how ideas about racism, imperialism, disability, and antisemitism created gay rights as we know it. That story is told by way of a recounting of the German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld's 1930-2 lecture tour of the American and British Empires in the company of the Chinese student Li Shiu Tong. The other book, tentatively Crimes Against Nature and Crimes Against Humanity, is a history of queer and/or transgender people in Nazi Germany and Austria and Nazi-occupied Europe that considers women as well as men and trans as well as cis people and centrally analyzes racism as a vector of persecution.

I co-teach a class on the global history of AIDS with Prof. Lynn M. Thomas and I'm developing a class on the digital histories of the First and Second World Wars with Taylor Soja, supported by a digital humanities grant from the Simpson Center.

I am affiliated with the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Germanics. Before UW I had gigs at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, the University of Oxford, and Syracuse University.


Courses Taught

Graduate Study Areas

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. Work on the major field will introduce students to important historiographical problems, such as those regarding Germany’s development into a modern nation state across the nineteenth century, the history of German Jews from the eighteenth century to the present, the development of feminism in Germany and the various paths that German feminists took in their search for justice, German imperialism, gay and trans liberation movements in German-speaking Europe from the nineteenth century to the present, the rise, fall, and long aftermath of Nazism, the rise and fall of German communism, and state violence and genocide in German history.

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. A field in the comparative history of ethnicity and nationalism will investigate notions of race, national identity, and ethnic identity together with the closely related histories of gender, sexuality, and class, in the context of modern Germany and modern Europe. Students are encouraged to design fields that will serve their research interests.

*Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.

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