2023 Konrad Adenauer Research Award Goes to European Queer History Expert Jennifer Evans

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Queer history expert Jennifer Evans Image Credit: Luther Caverly
Queer history expert Jennifer Evans Image Credit: Luther Caverly

The historian from Canada will conduct research on two projects at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute at Freie Universität Berlin

With its selection of Jennifer Evans, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has singled out an internationally recognized expert for German and European queer history to receive the 2023 Konrad Adenauer Research Award. Besides receiving 60,000 euros for their work, the award winners are also invited to conduct a research project of their own choosing in Germany in collaboration with specialist colleagues there. While in Germany, Evans will work on two research projects focused on the role drag plays in queer history and on photography and the sexual revolution during the second half of the twentieth century. Evans was nominated for the Konrad von Adenauer Research reward by Freie Universität history education expert Martin Lücke.

Jennifer Evans has been a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa since 2017 and a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 2016. On the basis of cultural and social theories, Evans examines the relationships between queer and transgender persons, the state and societal notions of community. Her research focus is broad, ranging from the transnational history of sexuality, daily life and visual culture to the history of populism and authoritarianism all the way to the history of homosexuality in post-war Germany.

Evans’ work on divided Germany, in particular, was groundbreaking in the way she used a large body of archival materials, including police and court files, to gain an understanding of how morals and behavior were regulated in East and West Germany. Her publications "Bahnhof Boys" (2003) and "The Moral State" (2005) were among the first English-language studies to examine the persecution of homosexuality by the police and legal systems in occupied and divided Germany. She has also published a number of pivotal texts in the area of queer history, including Queer Cities, Queer Cultures (2013, with Matt Cook), a compendium with case studies from throughout Europe.

Martin Lücke of Freie Universität Berlin, who nominated Evans for the award, was delighted to hear of her success and reiterated that Evans’s research at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute will be especially rewarding: "Professor Evans will play an active role in the German Research Foundation’s network on queer history in German-speaking Europe, which is coordinated through the Friedrich Meinecke Institute. It is a great honor to welcome the leading expert on queer history to our university."

While in Germany, Evans will work on two research projects: In "Short History of Drag," she will situate cross-dressing in the history of Germany in the years since 1945 and investigate the role drag plays in queer history and in the history of queer/gay/lesbian/transsexual/transgender identity building. The second project will revolve around photography and the sexual revolution. This work will examine the role played by the changing aesthetic, imaging, and curatorial practices in connection with the liberalization of social and sexual mores during the second half of the twentieth century. Evans will conduct her research at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute at Freie Universität Berlin. On June 21, 2023, Evans will hold a public lecture at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute entitled, "The Queer Art of History: Queer Kinship After Fascism."

With the Konrad Adenauer Research Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation singles out researchers from Canada whose fundamental discoveries and findings have had a lasting impact on the award winner’s field even beyond their immediate research area and who, through their personality and research work, help strengthen scientific and cultural relations between Germany and Canada. Award winners receive 60,000 euros to support their work and are invited to conduct a research project in Germany in collaboration with specialist colleagues there.




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