Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize, 2008

The 2008 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize was awarded to Marti Lybeck (University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse; PhD University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). The award ceremony took place at the 17th Annual Symposium of the Friends of the German Historical Institute on November 14, 2008. The Stern Prize Selection Committee was composed of Mary Jo Maynes (University of Minnesota), George S. Williamson (University of Alabama), and Jonathan Zatlin (Boston University). 

  • Marti Lybeck (University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse), Gender, Sexuality, and Belonging: Female Homosexuality in Germany, 1890-1933 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Ph.D., 2007, Advisors: Kathleen Canning and Geoff Eley). For more information on Lybeck's dissertaion, see her article in the GHI's Bulletin.

    Prize citation: "Marti Lybeck has written an original and provocative study of female homosexuality at two points of German history - the late Kaiserreich and the Weimar Era. The dissertation pursues three analytic lines laid out in a theoretically ambitious introduction: the history of the construction of the self; the history of homosexuality and its parts (for example, ‘female masculinity'); and change over time in how homosexuality was articulated as an identity and discussed in contemporary sources. Lybeck uses a series of case studies to develop her arguments. One case, for example, involves an analysis of Wedekind's dramatic explorations of sexuality and of the police and public responses to them. Another focuses on locally notorious incidents of Weimar-era women civil servants and professionals who brought scandalous charges of homosexuality in women-centered workplaces. The diversity of the cases requires Lybeck to use a broad array of sources: personal narratives such as autobiographies and letters, fiction and drama, police records from several cities, newspapers, and local court and administrative case materials. Throughout the thesis, Lybeck is careful to historicize and deconstruct the terms she uses. Her refusal to look at the evidence of the past through the lens of sexual identities developed in the late twentieth century is persistent and admirable. Her deeply historical sensitivity to social categories yields fascinating insights into the history of homosexuality, gender, and selfhood in modern Germany."