Faculty Directory

Heide Fehrenbach

Board of Trustees Professor and Distinguished Research Professor

Field of Study: Modern Europe (Germany), Cultural/Intellectual, Gender, Sexuality and Women, Nationalism and Identity, Race and Ethnicity

E-mail: hfehrenbach at niu.edu
Office: Zulauf 601

Education: Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1990

Current Research: 

I am currently working on the visual history of humanitarian advocacy and recently  completed work on a collaborative volume on the topic, Humanitarian Photography: A History, co-edited with Davide Rodogno and published by Cambridge University Press.  I am now at work on a book-length study of child-centered humanitarian imagery since the late 19th century. 

My previous publications probed the social and cultural effects of World War II, postwar processes of democratization and “Americanization,” and transitions in racial and gender ideologies in post-fascist Germany.  My research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauchdienst, and the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis.  Before coming to NIU, I held tenured positions at Emory University and Colgate University.




  • Humanitarian Photography: A History, edited with Davide Rodogno. Series on     “Human Rights in History,” ed. Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann and Samuel Moyn. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe. Author,  with Rita Chin, Geoff Eley, and Atina Grossmann .  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009.
  • Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America. Author. Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2005, paperback ed., 2007.
  • Transactions, Transgressions, Transformations: American Culture in Western Europe and Japan. Editor, with Uta Poiger. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2000.
  • Cinema in Democratizing Germany: Reconstructing National Identity After Hitler.  Author. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995. [Winner of the 1996 Book Prize of the Conference Group for Central European History]


Recent Essays:

  • “The Morality of Sight: Humanitarian Photography in History,” authored with Davide Rodogno.  In Fehrenbach/Rodogno, eds., Humanitarian Photography: A History.  New York: Cambridge UP, 2015.
  • “Children and Other Civilians: Photojournalism and Humanitarian Imagemaking.”  In  Fehrenbach/Rodogno, eds., Humanitarian Photography: A History, 165-99
  • “From Aid to Intimacy: The Humanitarian Origins of International Adoption.”   In Johannes Paulmann, ed., The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the 20th Century.  London: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015.
  • “The Nazi New Order and Its Postwar Legacies.  In Matthew Pratt Guterl, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Race. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015.
  • “Die Beharrlichkeit eines Konzepts. Gedanken zu race und ‘Rasse’ in den USA, Deutschland und Europa nach 1945,  transl.by L. Bolyos.  In Lisa Bolyos and Katharina Morowek, eds., Diktatorpuppe zerstört, Schaden gering. Kunst und Geschichtspolitik im Postnazismus.  Vienna: Mandelbaum Verlag, 2012.
  • "War Orphans and Postfascist Families: Kinship and Belonging after 1945.” In Frank Biess and Robert G. Moeller, eds., Histories of the Aftermath: The Legacies of the Second World War in Europe, 175-195.  New York: Berghahn Books, 2010.


Teaching Interests:

Modern European social, cultural, and gender history; social and cultural history of World Wars; modern Germany; race and ethnicity in transnational perspective; human rights and humanitarianism; film and photography; history of children and childhood.

Courses Taught:

  • HIST 112 Western Civilization since 1815
  • HIST 295 Historical Methods 
  • HIST 313 Modern Germany 1870-1990
  • HIST 328 Europe, 1945 - Present
  • HIST 386 History of Human Rights
  • Hist 390  Film and History
  • HIST 418 Modern European Intellectual and Cultural History
  • HIST 425 World War II: Film, History, and Public Memory in International Perspective
  • HIST 429 Nazi Germany 
  • HIST 495 Senior Thesis Seminar for History Majors
  • HIST 610-90/710-90 Humanitarianism and Human Rights (Graduate Reading and Research Seminars)
  • HIST 610-90/710-90 Photography in History (Graduate Reading and Research Seminars)

Link to CV | Link to Personal Website