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Faculty Profiles

Robert Beachy
Director of Veritas Research Center

Associate Professor of History

  • Ph. D. History, University of Chicago, 1998
  • M.A. History, University of Chicago, 1989
  • B.A. History, Earlham College, 1988

Email: rmbeachy@yonsei.ac.kr
Tel: 032-749-3088
Office: Veritas Hall C410


Robert Beachy received his Ph.D. in European history at the University of Chicago in 1998. Since then he has taught full-time, first at Wake Forest University and then at Goucher College, where he received tenure and served as department chair.  In 2014, he came to UIC/Yonsei as an associate professor.  He has also been the recipient of numerous fellowships and prizes, including a John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center (Duke, NC), and the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.  He has also received grants from the American Philosophical Society, The Huntington Library, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Max Kade Foundation, the Max Planck Institute for History, and the Goethe Institute.

The American Historical Association awarded one of Professor Beachy’s journal articles the Higby Prize for the best article in European history.  His most recent book Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity won the 2015 Randy Shilts Prize for the best non-fiction work in LGBTQ literature, sponsored by the Publishing Triangle.   Gay Berlin was also named a Non-Fiction Honor Book by the Stonewall Book Awards of the American Library Association.  He also received a “Soul of Stonewall” award from the Berlin Gay Pride Parade Association for the German translation, Das Andere Berlin.



Ph. D. History, University of Chicago, 1998
M.A. History, University of Chicago, 1989
B.A. History, Earlham College, 1988


Courses and Current Research Areas

Trained primarily as an early modernist, Professor Beachy initially offered courses on early modern religious, social, and gender history, including thematic courses on the reformations (Protestant and Catholic), the European witch-hunts, premodern urban history, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution.  More recently, he has developed courses on the modern history of sexuality and homosexuality, the World Wars, and the Holocaust.  He also has an abiding interest in social theory, and has taught several courses on the origins of the modern social sciences and their influence on the discipline of history.  Professor Beachy’s first book, The Soul of Commerce: Credit, Property, and Politics in Leipzig, 1750-1840 (Brill Academic Press, 2005), examined the role of early modern social ties and commercial culture in shaping political reform in Germany.  In conjunction with this book he co-edited two collections of essays, Women, Business and Finance in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Berg, 2006) and Who Ran the Cities (Ashgate, 2007), which explored related themes in European and transatlantic contexts. He also coedited a volume on the German Pietist sect, the Moravians, Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World (Berghahn, 2007), which included thematic essays on gender, cultural, commercial, and slave labor relations within the Moravians’ European and Atlantic World communities.  Most recently he published Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Knopf, 2014; Vintage PB, 2015), which has since appeared in German and Italian translations.  He is now working on a monographic study of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals.


Selected Publications

Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Knopf, November 2014). Paperback reprint (Vintage, October 2015)
-----. German translation published as, Das andere Berlin. Die Erfindung der Homosexualität. Eine Deutsche Geschichte 1867-1933 (Siedler, June 2015)
-----. Italian translation published as, Gay Berlin. L'invenzione tedesca dell'omosessualità (Bompiani, February 2016)
“Ich bin schwul”. W. H. Auden im Berlin der Weimarer Republik, Hirschfeld Lectures, vol. 6 (Wallstein Verlag, 2014)
The Soul of Commerce: Credit, Property and Politics in Leipzig, 1750-1840 (Brill Academic Press, 2005)

Edited Volumes
Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World, coedited with Michele Gillespie (Berghahn Books, 2007)
Who Ran the Cities? Elite and Urban Power Structures, 1750–1950, coedited with Ralf Roth (Ashgate Press, 2007)
Women in Business and Finance in Nineteenth Century Europe: Rethinking Separate Spheres, coedited with Alastair Owens, Beatrice Craig (Berg Press 2006).

Journal Articles
“The German Invention of Homosexuality,” The Journal of Modern History, 82/4 (2010), pp. 801-838. AWARDED AHA Higby Prize, best article in European history for 2010-11
“Lodge Factionalism and Civic Notability in the Napoleonic Era,” in Zeitschrift für Internationale Freimaurer-Forschung, no. 1 (2002): 41-55 (actual publication date 2004)
“Business was a Family Affair: Women of Commerce in Central Europe, 1650-1880,” in Histoire sociale—Social History, vol. XXXIV, 68 (2001): 307-330 (actual publication date 2003)
“Bankruptcy and Social Death: The Influence of Credit-Based Commerce on Cultural and Political Values,” in Zeitsprünge: Forschungen zur Frühen Neuzeit 4/4 (2000), 329-343
“Recasting Cosmopolitanism: German Freemasonry and Regional Identity in the Early Nineteenth Century,” in Eighteenth Century Studies,33:2 (Winter 1999-2000), 268-76
“Local Protest and Territorial Reform: Public Debt and Constitutionalism in Early Nineteenth-Century Saxony,” in German History 17/4 (1999), 470-87
“Reforming Interregional Commerce: Leipzig Trade Fairs and Saxon Economic Recovery from the Thirty Years’ War,” in Central European History 32/4 (1999), 431-52

Book Chapters
“The Alchemy of Credit: Saxony’s Rétablissement after 1763,” in Decades of Reconstruction: Postwar Societies, State-Building, and International Relations, from the Seven Years' War to the Cold War, ed. James Retallack and Ute Planert (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
“The Anti-sodomy Statute (Paragraph 175) in Imperial and Weimar Germany, 1870-1933,” in From Sodomy Laws to Same-Sex Marriage: Coupling, Questions of ‘Nature’, and the State, 1786-2015, ed. Sean Brady and Mark Seymour (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming).
"A German Sexologist on Tour: Magnus Hirschfeld in East Asia," in Germany and Japan/Japan and Germany, ed. Joanne Miyang Cho (Brill Academic Press, forthcoming)
“To Police and Protect: The Surveillance of Homosexuality in Imperial Berlin,” in After the History of Sexuality: German Genealogies of Lust and Longing, ed. Scott Spector, Dagmar Herzog, Helmut Puff (Berghahn Books, 2012), pp. 109-123. 
“Masonic Fraternalism and the Construction of Gender in Enlightenment Europe” in Fraternal Organisations and the Structuring of Gender Roles in Europe, 1300-2000, ed. Maire Cross, Andrew Prescott (Ashgate, 2010), 
“Introduction: Who Ran the Cities?” with Roth in Who Ran the Cities? Elite and Urban Power  Structures, 1750–1950, ed. Ralf Roth and Robert Beachy (Ashgate Press, 2007), xvii-xxx
“Manuscript Missions in an Age of Print:  The Moravian Gemein Nachrichten in the Atlantic World,” in Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World, ed. Gillespie and Beachy (Berghahn, 2007), 33-49
“Introduction,” with Michele Gillespie, in Pious Pursuits: German Moravians in the Atlantic World, ed. Gillespie and Beachy (Berghahn, 2007), 1-22
“Profit and Propriety: Sophie Henschel and Gender Management in the German Locomotive Industry,” forthcoming in Women in Business and Finance in Nineteenth Century Europe: Rethinking Separate Spheres,ed. Beachy, Owens, Craig (Berg Press, 2006), 67-80
“Introduction,” with Craig and Owens, in Women in Business and Finance in Nineteenth Century Europe: Rethinking Separate Spheres,ed. Beachy, Owens, Craig (Berg Press, 2006), 1-19
“The Eclipse of Usury:  Bankruptcy and Business Morality in Eighteenth-Century Germany,” in Ways of Knowing: Early Modern German Studies, ed. Mary Lindemann (Brill Academic Publishers, 2004), 171-190
“Women Without Gender: Commerce, Exchange Codes, and the Erosion of Female Guardianship in Germany, 1680-1830,” in Family Welfare: Gender, Property and Inheritance since the Seventeenth Century, ed. David R. Green, Alastair Owens (Greenwood Press, Connecticut, 2004)
“Club Culture and Social Authority: Freemasonry in Leipzig, 1741-1830,” in The Paradoxes of Civil Society, ed. Frank Trentmann (New York, Berghahn Books, 2000; reprint 2003), 157-75
“Fernhandel und Krämergeist: Die Leipziger Handelsdeputierten und die Einführung der sächsischen Wechselordnung, 1681,” in Leipzigs Messen 1497 bis 1997, ed. Hartmut Zwahr, 2 vols.(Weimar/Cologne/Vienna, Böhlau Verlag, 1999), 1: 135-147 

Book Reviews
Professor Beachy has published about 30 book reviews in a number of scholarly venues including The American Historical Review, The English Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History, Eighteenth Century Studies, Sexuality and Culture, Central European History, German History, and German Studies Review.

Book and Article Manuscript Reviews
Professor Beachy has reviewed book and article manuscripts for Cambridge University Press; University of Michigan Press; University of Chicago Press; Berghahn Press; The Journal of Modern History; American Historical Review; German History; Central European History; Journal of Homosexuality; and Journal of the History of Sexuality.

Grant Reviews
Professor Beachy also reviews grant and fellowship proposals for the National Humanities Center; National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Fellowships; American Philosophical Association; The American Academy in Berlin; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD); The Belgian Science Foundation; The Israel Science Foundation.

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