Claudia Koonz
  • Claudia Koonz

  • Professor Emeritus and Peabody Family Chair
  • History
  • 110 Carr Building
  • Campus Box 90719
  • Phone: (919) 684-3941
  • Fax: (919) 681-7670
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Other

    I have benefited from research support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German-Marshall Fund, Duke University, the American Council for Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, and the National Humanities Center. Mothers in the Fatherland received several awards: as a finalist for the National Book Award non-fiction nomination, 1987; The Boston Globe-Winship Book of the Year Award, 1987; The Berkshire Conference 1987 Book Award; The Jesuit Honor Society book of the year; and it was one of the New York Times and Liberation's (Paris) best 100 books of 1987 and 1990, respectively.
  • Research Summary

    Contemporary Islamophobia, Nazi racial politics, genocide
  • Research Description

    How does it happen that citizens who consider themselves deeply moral can believe that some of their fellow citizens embody a danger so lethal that they must be eliminated? In "The Nazi Conscience," I examined public culture during the so-called normal years of the Third Reich (1933-1939) and identified the key role of popular racial science and expert opinion in convincing mainstream Germans that Jews, homosexuals, Roma (Gypsies) were so "alien" that they scarcely counted as human at all. In my current research I ask similar questions about contemporary Europeans' reactions to Muslim women who wear the headscarf, or "hijab." I am less concerned with fanatics' hate speech than with the subtle prejudices common in generally liberal milieus. Identifying visual and textual representations of the "hijab" in mass-market media, I analyze the production of ethnic panic in countries where immigration is economically essential, but immigrants are culturally marginalized. In my research and courses, I examine the formation of ethnic fears that endow the "us" with the conviction they have been summoned to rid the world of an evil "them."
  • Current Projects

    Ethnic identity formation as manifested in experts', politicians', and feminists' responses to women wearing Muslim headscarves public spaces.
  • Areas of Interest

    comparative genocides
    history of Nazi racial policies
    Gender in historiography of Nazi Germany
    gender and ethnic violence
  • Education

      • PhD,
      • Rutgers University,
      • 1969
      • MA,
      • Columbia University,
      • 1964
      • BA,
      • University of Wisconsin-Madison,
      • 1962
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • American Academy, Berlin,
      • 0 2006
      • Virginia Humanities Foundation (declined),
      • Spring 2006
      • Woodrow Wilson Center (declined),
      • June 2005
      • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation,
      • 2005
      • History Book Club Book of the Month selection,
      • March 2004
      • Belknap Book designation,
      • Harvard University Press,
      • January 2003
  • Recent Publications

      • C. Koonz.
      • "Agency, Gender, and Race in Nazi Germany."
      • Gender Politics and Mass Dictatorships: Between Mobilization and Liberation.
      • Ed. Jie-Hyun Lim and Karen Petrone.
      • Korean edition (I can't read the name of the Press),
      • Blackwell will release English ed on Jan 11, 2011,
      • Fall, 2010.
      • 61-91.
      Publication Description

      Using mass dictatorship as a working hypothesis to comprehend support for dictatorship from below, this book concentrates on the gender politics deployed by dictatorial regimes such as Nazism, Stalinism, 'really existing socialism' in the GDR and People's Poland, Maoist China, the development dictatorship in South Korea, and colonial empires. 20th century dictatorial regimes used gender politics as a lever to mobilize men and women as voluntary participants in state projects. Ironically enough, women under dictatorships could become important players in the previously male-dominated public sphere in exchange for voluntary mobilization. But both men and women were not passive objects of gender politics. Men both embraced and rejected the masculine roles set out for them; and the dictatorial regimes' invitation to participate in the public sphere, designed for the self-mobilization of women, was often used by women for self-empowerment. This book shows the twisted paths of citizens' lives under the dictatorial regimes as they veered between self-mobilization and self-empowerment.

      • C. Koonz.
      • "What Can a Document Tell Us?."
      • Ed. David Scrace.
      • Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Vermont,
      • 2010.
      • (.)
      • C. Koonz.
      • "Hijab: A Word in Motion."
      • Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon.
      • Ed. Anna Tsing and Carol Gluck.
      • Duke University Press,
      • 2009.
      • [web]
      • C. Koonz.
      • Geschlecht in moderner deutschen Geschichte.
      • Ed. Karen Hagemann and Jean H. Quataert.
      • Frankfurt a.M.:
      • Campus,
      • 2008.
      • C. Koonz.
      • "A Tributary and a Mainstream: Gender, Public Memory, and the Historiography of Nazi Germany."
      • Gendering Modern German History.
      • Ed. Karen Hagemann and Jean H. Quataert.
      • Oxford and New York:
      • Berghahn,
      • 2008.
      • 147-168.
      • (
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  • PhD Students

    • Sarah Summers
      • January 01, 2009 - present
      • Thesis: Rethinking Family and Work: The Gendered Division of Labor and Women's Emancipation in West Germany from the 1960s through the 1980s
    • Willeke Sandler
      • September 01, 2006 - present
      • Status: PostQual
      • Thesis: Colonial Culture in "Post-Colonial" Germany, 1925-1945
    • Joel W. Revill
      • 2003 - present
    • Sebastian H Lukasik
      • 2003 - present
    • Jennifer L. Welsh
      • 2003 - present
    • David Pizzo
      • 2000 - 2007
      • Status: PostPrelim
      • Thesis: German Empire and the Sonderweg (provisional)
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