I am an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Northwestern University, where I research and teach German history, migration and race in Europe, and the history of gender and sexuality.
My current project examines policies around family reunification for “guest workers” in West Germany. I argue that in the 1960s, state officials understood migrant families as a necessary unit for integrating individuals into civil society and a kind of “staging ground” for the process of integration. Over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, these same officials and a growing cadre of experts placed more stress on the idea that the family was a dangerous locus of foreign values that posed a barrier to that same process of integration. “Family unity” has eroded as a principle for migration policy, while the “ability to integrate” has increasingly been understood as an individual project that requires a break from the family of origin.
While in graduate school, I co-directed “Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago.” Over the course of four years, the project gathered one hundred oral histories from LGBTQ alumni, faculty and staff and deposited these oral histories in University Special Collections. I curated an exhibition highlighting our finds that ran from March-June 2015 in the Special Collections Research Center at Regenstein Library.