Department of History

Julia Roos

  • Associate Professor, Department of History


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

Contact Information

Ballantine Hall, Rm. 715
(812) 855-1682


Julia Roos

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.

Selected 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 Europe and Germany
  • Women and gender
  • Sexuality
  • Social, political, and cultural history
  • Propaganda

Courses Recently 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

Publication Highlights


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



“Racist Hysteria to Pragmatic Rapprochement? The German Debate about Rhenish ‘Occupation Children,’ 1920-1930,” forthcoming in Contemporary European History, vol. 22, no.2 (May 2013).

“Between Normalization and Resistance: Prostitutes’ Professional Identities and Political Organization in Weimar Germany.” In After the History of Sexuality: German Genealogies with and beyond Foucault, edited by Dagmar Herzog, Helmut Puff, and Scott Spector, 139-55. Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association, edited by David M. Luebke, vol. 5. New York: Berghahn Books, 2012.

“Nationalism, Racism, and Propaganda in Early Weimar Germany: Contradictions in the Campaign against the ‘Black Horror on the Rhine,’” German History vol. 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.


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