Dr. Bodie Ashton

Dr. Bodie Ashton


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter des VolkswagenStiftung-Freigeist Projekts "The Other Global Germany: Transnational Criminality and Deviant Globalization in the 20th Century" (Historisches Seminar)


Lehrgebäude 4 / Raum 115

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Nordhäuser Straße 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Philosophische Fakultät
Globalgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Dr. Bodie Ashton

Curriculum Vitae

Winner of the 2022 Diversity & Inclusion Prize, German History Society, for "The Parallel Lives of Liddy Bacroff: Transgender (Pre)History and the Tyranny of the Archive in Twentieth-Century Germany."

from 2021
Postdoctoral researcher at the Universität Erfurt on the VolkswagenStiftung Freigeist project “The Other Global Germany: Transnational Criminality and Deviant Globalization in the 20th Century” — postdoctoral research project: “Between ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ and ‘Off to Casablanca’: Queer Migration and Border Transgressions in Twentieth-Century (West) Germany"

Researcher and lecturer in Legal History at the Universität Passau, Chair of Civil Law, German and European Legal History

Professional Academic Editor at the Universität Passau on the European Research Council Advanced Grant research project “Reconsidering Constitutional Formations” „Reconsidering Constitutional Formations“ (ReConFort)

Research assistant at The David Roche Foundation (North Adelaide, Australia)


Research assistant in the planning phase of the Sir John Monash Centre, Australian National Memorial (Villers-Bretonneaux, France)

Ph.D. in History at the University of Adelaide (Australia) under the supervision of Prof. Robin Prior and Dr. Gareth Pritchard: “The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871”

Australian Postgraduate Award

Bachelor of Arts with First-Class Honours in Modern History at the University of Adelaide (Australia) under the supervision of Prof. Frederic S. Zuckerman: “Stalin’s Bitter Pill: Ideology, Diplomacy and the Nazi-Soviet Pact”

Bachelor of Arts (History/German Studies) at the University of Adelaide (Australia)

Research Areas

History of identity formation

Queer / LGBTQIA+ history

History of the German Mittelstaaten in the 19th century

German history of the 20th century

Imperialism and colonialism

Research Project

Between ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ and ‘Off to Casablanca’: Queer Migration and Border Transgressions in Twentieth-Century (West) Germany

Germany’s relationship with its queer history is a difficult topic. For many outside Germany, it has often given them refuge to explore their identities, from W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood in the 1920s, to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the 1980s. At the same time, however, that history is marred by repression and iniquities; extermination in the Nazi period, the continuation of laws illegalising consensual homosexual relationships after the war, and plans to build special ‘camps’ for HIV sufferers during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s are three examples.

Underpinning this history, however, is one of movement and migration, sometimes explicitly opposed by authorities. This ‘deviant’ or ‘illicit’ behaviour was found not only in the formulation of queer identities, but also in the supply and demand of an often-illegal queer sex trade. In general, but not exclusively, this can be divided into two distinct periods: prewar, in which parts of Germany became international hubs of queer activity, and postwar, in which an increasing number of West Germans, alienated by conservative reaction, travelled across the world, seeking sex, affirmation, or even gender confirmation surgeries that, prior to 1933, had been available within Germany itself.

This project investigates the reciprocal movements of queer migrations across German geographical and normative borders throughout the twentieth century. In doing so, it offers insight into histories that have so far been lost to the traditional, homonormative narrative, while at the same time challenging the homogenisation of German queer history, and questioning what we mean when we talk of a ‘German’ queer history in an increasingly globalised century.

Media Engagements

Ashton, Bodie A., Anna Hájková, and Hannah Geiger. "Kampf um Erinnerung: Verfolgung queerer Menschen im NS", Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes — Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (29 November 2022): <https://youtu.be/swlvtwZPBmE>

"Frederick the Great with Dr. Bodie Ashton and Stephen Fry", You're Dead To Me, BBC Podcasts (10 June 2022): <https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ccdc5q>

Ashton, Bodie A., Anna Hájková, Katie Sutton, and Rabbi Marisa Elana James. "Transgender Experiences in Weimar and Nazi Germany", Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (2 June 2022): <https://mjhnyc.org/events/transgender-experiences-in-weimar-and-nazi-germany/>

"Die binäre Erzählung — Transgeschlechtlichkeit (2/3)", Our Voices, Our Choices, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (25 June 2021): <https://www.boell.de/de/media/soundcloud/die-binaere-erzaehlung-transgeschlechtlichkeit-23-our-voices-our-choices>

“State of Nature: The Australian Federal Government would do well to remember some ideas from Western state philosophy, such as Bodin, Hobbes and Locke, especially when it comes to the responsibilities of a government”, Digitales Forschungsmagazin, Universität Passau (17 January 2020): <https://www.digital.uni-passau.de/en/stories/2020/bushfire-crisis-in-australia/>.

“Naturzustand: Die australische Regierung sollte sich ein paar Ideen von westlichen Staatstheoretikern wie Bodin, Hobbes und Locke zu Gemüte führen – insbesondere wenn es um die Pflichten einer Regierung geht”, Digitales Forschungsmagazin, Universität Passau (17 January 2020): <https://www.digital.uni-passau.de/beitraege/2020/braende-in-australien/>.

“I’m Doing What the Australian Government Won’t — Telling the Truth about the Climate Crisis: Scott Morrison is dangerously downplaying the climate crisis – forcing people like me to tell the world the truth”, The Independent (7 January 2020): <https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/ australia-wildfires-latest-climate-crisis-scott-morrison-twitter-a9274026.html>.

“Australia is Burning: une perspective australienne”, Le Grand Continent (5 January 2020): <https://legrandcontinent.eu/fr/2020/01/05/australia-is-burning-une-perspective-australienne/>.

“Why We, As Academics, Created a Letter in Support of LGBT+ Rights: Our trans colleagues in higher education face constant fear of marginalisation. But many more of us support them. It’s time to confront the narrative”, The Independent (23 June 2019): <https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/transgender-lgbt-pride-letter-academics-transphobia-higher- education-a8971136.html>, with Caroline Dodds Pennock.

“The Past is not a Straight Line”, History Matters: History Brought Alive by the University of Sheffield (13 July 2017): <http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/straight-line>.

“Stop Tinkering with School History, and Start Teaching It”, The Conversation (2 January 2014): <http://theconversation.com/stop-tinkering-with-school-history-and-start-teaching- it-21513>.

Selected Publications


The Pet Shop Boys and the Political: Queerness, Culture, Identity and Society (London: Bloomsbury, 2023), forthcoming.

The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871 (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).



Transnational Queer Histories (book series, De Gruyter, Berlin), with Sabrina Mittermeier.

A Cloud in a Box: Politics, History, and the Pet Shop Boys (2022), pending.

“West-German Popular Culture and its Transnational Impact 1949-1990”, Special Issue of Journal of European Popular Culture 12, no. 1 (2022), with Sabrina Mittermeier, pending.

Talking Bodies, vol. II: Bodily Languages, Selfhood and Transgression (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), with Amy Bonsall and Jonathan Hay.


Articles and Essays

“‘Hier ist ein Märchen von Übermorgen’: Raumpatrouille and Rethinking Germany’s Place in a Global Future”, European Journal of Popular Culture 12, no. 1 (2022), pending.

“Kingship, Sexuality, and Courtly Masculinity: Frederick the Great and Prussia on the Cusp of Modernity”, ANU Historical Journal II 1, no. 1 (2019): 109-35.

“‘Subjects of our most gracious Majesty’: Constitutionalism and Constitutionalisation in South Australia Colony: An Agenda for Future Research”, Giornale di Storia Costituzionale 37, no. 1 (2019): 243-61.

“Constitutionalism as a Force of Popular Loyalty: Constitutional and Unconstitutional Württemberg in the Nineteenth Century”, Giornale di Storia Costituzionale 34, no. 2 (2017): 137-60.

“In Defence of Paul Ham: History as Its Own Worst Enemy”, Flinders Journal of History and Politics 31 (2015): 3-14.

“Retrospective: Jonathan Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov’s Stalins Last Crime: The Plot against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953, Ten Years Later”, Flinders Journal of History and Politics 29 (2013): 2-7.   



“Michael Broers and Ambrogio A. Caiani (eds), A History of the European Restorations, vol. I: Governments, States and Monarchy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), and Michael Broers, Ambrogio A. Caiani, and Stephen Bann (eds), A History of the European Restorations, vol. II: Culture, Society and Religion (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)”, European History Quarterly 51 (2021), pending.

“Wolfram Siemann, Metternich: Strategist and Visionary (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019)”, German History (2021), pending.

“Moritz von Brescius, German Science in the Age of Empire: Enterprise, Opportunity and the Schlagintweit Brothers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)”, Journal of World History 32, no. 1 (2021), pending.

“Mark Cornwall and John Paul Newman (eds), Sacrifice and Rebirth: The Legacy of the Last Habsburg War (New York: Berghahn, 2016)”, European History Quarterly 50, no. 4 (2020): 716-18.

“Paul Fox, The Image of the Soldier in German Culture, 1871-1933 (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)”, European History Quarterly 50, no. 1 (2020): 152-4.    

“Anna Ross, Beyond the Barricades: Government and State-Building in Post- Revolutionary Prussia, 1848-1858 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)”, European History Quarterly 49, no. 4 (2019): 713-15.

“A. Wess Mitchell, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)”, European History Quarterly 49, no. 3 (2019): 522-3.

“Benjamin Carter Hett, The Death of Democracy: Hitlers Rise to Power (London: William Heinemann, 2018)”, European History Quarterly 49, no. 2 (2019): 322-4.

“Laurence Cole, Military Culture and Popular Patriotism in Late Imperial Austria (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)”, European History Quarterly 48, no. 3 (2018): 551-3.

“Sebastian Heer, Parlamentsmanagement: Herausbildungs- und Funktionsmuster parlamentarischer Steuerungsstrukturen in Deutschland vom Reichstag bis zum Bundestag (Düsseldorf: Droste, 2015)’, American Historical Review 123, no. 4 (2018): 1411-12.

“Susan Richter, Pflug und Steuerruder: Zur Verflechtung von Herrschaft und Landwirtschaft in der Aufklärung (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna: Böhlau, 2015)”, German Studies Review 40, no. 2 (2017): 411-13.      

“Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014)’, German History 33, no. 2 (2015): 294-6.

“Barbara Eichner, Historys Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity 1848-1914 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2012)”, German History 31, no. 4 (2013): 585-6.

“Sebastian Conrad, German Colonialism: A Short History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); and Christian S. Davis, Colonialism, Anti-Semitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012)”, The German Quarterly 85, no. 3 (2012): 368-70.