Graduate Studies

Julia Roos, Ph.D., 2001


Julia Roos is associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she has been teaching since 2006. Before that, she was a lecturer in Gender Studies and History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Roos is a historian of modern Europe with a special focus on twentieth-century Germany, gender, race, and propaganda. Her articles have appeared in Central European History, German History, Contemporary European History, Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques, and elsewhere. Her book, Weimar through the Lens of Gender: Prostitution Reform, Woman’s Emancipation, and German Democracy, 1919-1933 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), 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-parliamentary government, the Weimar Republic. Liberal gender reforms like the decriminalization of prostitution helped nourish a powerful right-wing backlash that played an important role in the destruction of Weimar democracy and the rise of National Socialism.

More recently, Roos has gotten interested in the 1920s propaganda campaign against the “black horror on the Rhine,” a racist slogan against the stationing of French colonial soldiers in the German Rhineland after the First World War. In 1937, the Nazis subjected hundreds of biracial Rhenish children who were the sons and daughters of German mothers and colonial French fathers to compulsory sterilization. After 1945, significant numbers of colonial French soldiers and African American GIs participated in the occupation of West Germany. Their children with white German women often stood at the center of nationalist and racialist anxieties. Roos’ current work on a book-length project compares post-World War I and post-World War II discourses about biracial so-called “occupation children” (Besatzungskinder) to explore broader realignments and shifts in German racial attitudes over the course of the twentieth century.