Marti Lybeck

Assistant Professor
403B Wimberly Hall

Specialty area(s)

Gender and Sexuality, Modern Europe, 19th and 20th Century Germany

Brief biography

I focus my teaching on the recovery of individual agency in history. My hope is allow students to see history as a dynamic process influenced by the actions of ordinary people and as a stubborn presence shaping every individual life. I want students to develop historical thinking skills through encountering the struggles of individuals to defend, change, or simply survive the historical conditions into which they were born. Narrative sources like novels and film provide an exciting way for students to enter into historical experiences. I also believe in the power of writing as a form of thinking. My students can expect to do as much informal and formal writing as class and grading time allows.

My research mirrors my teaching in using narrative and anthropological models and tools to probe the intimate and political decisions that individuals make. Critical use of the concept of identity as collective social construction of self is especially useful in my research into female homosexuality in Europe in the period between 1890 and the 1930s. My work on Germany involves investigating the connections between emancipated women's sexual self constructions and the political issues and affiliations they pursued. My large question involves theorizing the interconnections between gender and sexuality at the level of individual experience using close readings of historical sources.

I serve on the Board of the LGBT Center of the Seven Rivers Region and enjoy kayaking, biking, and other non-extreme outdoor sports. I try to get to Europe and especially Berlin whenever I can.

Current courses at UWL

Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Europe
History Through Film
Modern Germany
Global Transition and Change--Gender and Family
Survey of Modern Europe

Research and publishing

Selected Publications or Presentations
Desiring Emancipation: New Women and Homosexuality in Germany, 1890-1933. (SUNY Press, 2014).
“Gender, Sexuality, and Belonging: Female Homosexuality in Germany, 1890-1933,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 44 (2009) 29-41.
“Writing Love, Feeling Shame: Rethinking Respectability in the Weimar Homosexual Movement,” in After the History of Sexuality, Scott Spector and Dagmar Herzog, eds. (Berghahn Books, 2012).
"Reconsidering the Objects of Our Desire," Rethinking Modern European (Homo)sexualities, University of Antwerp (March 18, 2010).
“Emancipating Desire or Desiring Emancipation: Women’s Sexual Identity in Germany, 1924-1933,” Invited Lecture, Yale University Institute for Research on the History of Sexuality, Yale University (October 22, 2009).
“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough: Sexuality, Authority, Emancipation, and the Process of Gendered Self-Reform,” Rethinking German Modernities, University of Texas (February 2009)

Selected Awards

Arthur Fondiler Dissertation Prize 2007 (University of Michigan)
Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize 2008 (German Historical Institute)
Best First Manuscript in Queer Studies 2009 (SUNY Press)
UW La Crosse College of Liberal Studies Excellence Award for Scholarship 2010


BA Augsburg College History and English
MA University of Minnesota Library Science
MA University of Arizona History
PhD University of Michigan History (2007)