Photo of Jennifer V. Evans

Jennifer V. Evans

Professor - 20th c. social; Germany and East Central Europe; history of sexuality; comparative nationalisms; Cold War, national identity, and everyday life

Degrees:B.A. (McGill), M.A. (Simon Fraser), Ph.D. (SUNY Binghamton)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2848
Office:418 Paterson Hall

My undergraduate teaching revolves around contemporary German and European history, and I also teach transnational histories of love, hate, sexuality, and everyday life. I also teach about the longue durée history of authoritarianism, populism, and fascism. At the graduate level, my courses focus on social theory and interdisciplinary research methods in addition to themes related to my areas of expertise. My main research interests lie in the history of sexuality, art, memory, and visual culture, especially the role of photography and social media as agents of historical meaning.

My publications reflect these same interests in thinking conceptually as well as historically about the way knowledge is generated in the past and the stakes for the present day. My first book Life Among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) is a cultural history of reconstruction and traces the rebirth of the city’s various subcultures in the aftermath of World War II. I have written book chapters and articles on same-sex sexuality in post-1945 Germany and co-edited a book with Matt Cook (Birkbeck) entitled Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe Since 1945 (Continuum, 2013). Another in German, on the historiography surrounding homosexuality, was edited together with Florian Mildenburger, Jakob Pastötter, and Rüdiger Lautmann, entitled Was ist Homosexualität? (Männerschwarm, 2013).

My most recent book, Queer Life After Fascism: Kinship and the Queer Art of History (Duke UP, 2023), takes up the question of respectability politics in queer and trans* organizing, art, and remembrance in the late 20th and 21st century Germany and argues for kinship as a category of historical analysis. I have written a monograph with former students Meghan Lundrigan and Erica Fagen on social media and post-Holocaust memory for Bloomsbury UK (Holocaust Memory in the Digital Mediascape), and am working on another on the role of erotic photography as a claim to desire, personhood, and sexual freedom in the era before AIDS. I am primary investigator of Populist Publics, a multi-year SSHRC/Heritage/SSRC and German Embassy supported social media analysis of historical misremembering as a form of misinformation in the contemporary populist moment and am researching what I’m calling A Short History of Drag to be given as part of the 2026 George Mosse Lectures in Madison Wisconsin.

I am happy to supervise MA and PhD students with wide-ranging interests in the social and cultural history of 20th and 21st century Germany and Europe. I am particularly interested in theoretically informed approaches to the history of the body, gender, and sexuality, visual culture, public memory, and the everyday.

Research Interests

  • contemporary Germany and East Central Europe
  • history of sexuality; visual culture, including social media and photography; social and cultural theory
  • historical subjectivity; the spatial, visual, and now digital turns; “other victims” of the Holocaust; the Sexual Revolution

Honours and Awards

2023 Konrad Adenauer Research Prize, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

2023 University Research Achievement Award

2021 Dept of Canadian Heritage Digital Citizen Contribution Program Fellowship, “Triangular Hate: digital memory, disinformation, and transnational traffic between Germany, the US, and Canada”

2021 Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ottawa Fellowship

2020 SSRC Social Data Initiative Research Fellowship

2019 SSHRC Insight Grant, “Populist Publics: Memory, Populism, and Misinformation in the Canadian Social Mediascape”

2018 Visiting Professorship, Fondation Maison de Sciences de L’Homme Paris

2017 SSHRC Insight Development Grant, “Libraries, Sound, and Queer Kinship”

2016 Elected Member of Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists, and Experts

2015 University Research Achievement Award

2013-15 SSHRC Insight Grant, “Photography and the Sexual Revolution”

2011 SSHRC Insight Development Grant, “Hate 2.0: Combating Right-Wing Extremism in the Age of Social Technology”

2003-06 SSHRC Standard Research Grant, “The Persecution of Homosexuals in Nazi and Postwar Germany”.

2003 Carleton University Students Association Teaching Award

2002 SSRC Berlin Program Postdoctoral Fellowship

Select Publications


Holocaust Memory in the Digital Mediascape. Co-written with Erica Fagen and Meghan Lundrigan. (forthcoming in December 2023 with Bloomsbury UK).

Queer Life After Fascism: Kinship and the Queer Art of History (Duke UP,  2023)

Gender in Global Contexts: Labor, Law, and Human Rights, co-edited with Shelley O. Rose (Berghahn Press, 2023)

The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and 20th Century German History. Edited together with Paul Betts and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Berghahn Books, December 2017).

Queering German History, Special Issue of German History, (September 2016).

Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe Since 1945 (Continuum, 2013), with Matt Cook.

Was ist Homosexualität? Forschungsgeschichte, gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen und Perspektiven, co-edited with Florian Mildenberger, Rüdiger Lautmann, Jakob Pastötter (Männerschwarm Verlag GmbH, 2014).

Life Among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Settler Colonialism, Illiberal Memory, and German-Canadian Hate Networks in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries” with Swen Steinberg, David Y. Clement, and Danielle Carron Central European History, (forthcoming in Winter 2023)

“The New Fascism Syllabus: Networked Knowledge in the Digital Public Sphere” Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies, vol.  57 Issue 3 (August 2021): 264-287

“Cross-dressing, Male Intimacy, and the Violence of Transgression in Third Reich Photography” with Elissa Mailander German History, vol 22. Issue 1 (June 2020): 25-43

“Turning Points in the History of Gender and Sexuality” Gendering Post 1945 German History, edited by Karen Hagemann, Donna Harsch, and Friederiecke Braunhöfer (New York: Berghahn Press, 2018), pp. 25-49.

“Introduction: Seeing Ethically” The Ethics of Seeing: German Documentary Photography Reconsidered co-edited with Paul Betts and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, (New York: Berghahn Press, 2017), pp. 1-22.

“Erotic Photography and the Optics of Desire” The Ethics of Seeing: German Documentary Photography Reconsidered co-edited with Paul Betts and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, (New York: Berghahn Press, 2017), pp. 182-204.

“Why Queer German History?” Queering German History, Special Issue of German History, 34/3 (August 2016): 1-14.

“Homosexuality and the Politics of Masculinity in the GDR” in The Long Postwar edited by Karen Hagemann and Sonya Michel, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, in 2014), pp. 343-362.

“Seeing Subjectivity: Erotic Photography and the Optics of Desire” American Historical Review vol. 118, no. 2 (2013): 430-462.

“Forum: Cultural History and the Holocaust” German History, vol. 31, no. 1 (March 2013): 61-85, with Monica Black.

“Queer Temporalities: Herbert Tobias und das Bild des schamlosen Selbst in der Zeit vor Stonewall” in Susanne Regener and Katrin Köppert (eds.), Privat/Öffentlich. Visuelle Selbstentwürfe. Mediale Szenarien von Homosexualität (Vienna/Berlin: Turia+Kant Verlag, 2012),  111-130.

“Historicizing the Visual” German Studies Review vol. 35 no. 3 (Fall 2012): 485-489.

“Rethinking Sexual Modernity in 20th Century Germany” Social History vol.37 no. 3 (August 2012): 314-327, with Jane Freeland.

“The 1950s as Radical In-Between”  in Matt Cook and Heike Bauer (eds.), Queer 50s (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012),  13-28.

“The Violence of Survival and the Cost of War” German History vol. 29 no. 2 (Spring 2011): 305-310.

“Life Among the Ruins: Sex, Space, and Subculture in Postwar Berlin,” in Sabine Hake and Philip Broadbent (eds.), Berlin Divided City, 1945-89 (New York: Berghahn, 2010), 11-22.

“Decriminalization, Seduction, and ‘Unnatural Desire’ in the German Democratic Republic” Feminist Studies vol 36.3 (October 2010): 553-77.

“The Moral State: Men, Mining, and Masculinity in the Early GDR” German History, Special Issue on the History of Sexuality), vol. 23, no. 3 (August 2005): 355-370.

“Bahnhof Boys: Policing Male Prostitution in Post-Nazi Berlin,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12, no. 4 (October 2003), 605-636.

Recent Graduate Supervisions

PhD – Completed:

Erin Connell, “Sexual Education and Social Citizenship in Canada” Department of Sociology. Ph.D. committee member, 2008.

Sean Eedy, PhD, “Comic Books and Culture in the German Democratic Republic, 1955-1990: Between Constructions of Power and Childhood.” 2016

Jane Freeland, PhD, “Domestic Violence in East and West Berlin, 1969-89,” 2016

*won university medal for best dissertation across all faculties

Christine Whitehouse, PhD, “”You’ll Get Used to It!”: The Internment of Jewish Refugees in Canada, 1940-43.” 2016.

*won best dissertation in German-Canadian Studies

Meghan Lundrigan, PhD, “Holocaust Memory and Visuality in the Age of Social Media.” 2019.

*nominated for a university medal

PhD – Ongoing:

Merle Ingenfeld, co-tutelle with the University of Cologne, “The Cure”: A Transnational History of (Homo-)Sexual Conversion Therapy (1933–1973)”

Alan Jones, memory cultures in post-1945 West Germany

MA – Completed:

Karin Abma, MA EURUS,  “Women in the GDR: Consumerism and the Political, 1953-70” Institute for European and Russian Studies, 2014.

Christine Chisholm, MA, “Advertising, Family Policy, and Women’s ‘Return to Normalcy’ During the Adenauer Years,“ 2013.

Sean Eedy, MA, “Narrating the Berlin Wall: Nostalgia and the Negotiation of Memory 20 Years Later,” 2011.

Erica Fagen, MA Public History, “Staging the Holocaust: Sachsenhausen, Thanatourism, and Public Memory,” 2012.

Jane Freeland, MA EURUS, “Saying ‘I’: Women, Desire and Their Depiction in East Germany” Institute of European and Russian Studies, 2010.

Ottilie Grisdale, MA EURUS “Artistic Opposition to the Decline of Multiculturalism in the Netherlands,” 2015.

Emmanuel Hogg, PhD, “Football Fan Culture in Berlin, 1961-1989,” 2017.

Mandy Koroniak, MA Public History, “Imagery and Identity: Film and National Identity in the German Democratic Republic and Canada in the 1960s,” 2007.

Maggie Lecroix, MA EURUS, “Child Care Policy in Post 1989 Germany” 2005.

Natalie Spagnuolo, MA, “Sexuality and Alternative Discourses in Jewish Prague: a Feminist Reading of the Works of Franz Werfel,” 2011.

Jan-Mark van der Leest, MA EURUS, “Space and Identity in post-1989 Berlin,” 2008.

Meghan Lundrigan, MA Public History, “Holocaust Denial in the Social Mediascape,” 2013.

Christine Whitehouse, MA, “Stolpersteine: Moral Restitution after the Holocaust” 2011.

Alex Cruddas-Wilkinson, MA, “The Future in Stone: Architecture as Expression of National Socialist Temporality” 2016.