A specialist in the history of modern Europe, Heide Fehrenbach has spent her career asking provocative questions, using photography and film in her scholarship, and illuminating aspects of history that have been largely overlooked or even uninvestigated. Fehrenbach is an award-winning educator, scholar and author specializing in 20th century Europe and U.S.-German relations. She is internationally recognized for groundbreaking work on the social and cultural effects of World War II and the military occupation on Germany, issues of race, and most recently, the visual culture of humanitarianism. Her books on those topics are being taught in advanced courses at leading universities worldwide.
Fehrenbach was among the first historians to examine the persistence of racial thinking in Germany after the defeat of National Socialism. Her work explored the fact that the U.S. military which came armed to democratize Germany was itself racially segregated. She has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Academy in Berlin. She currently is a professor in the Department of History at Northern Illinois University, and has been recognized with a Board of Trustees Professorship and a Presidential Research Professorship.
Humanitarian advocacy and its media culture
Social and cultural effects of World War II
Race and democracy
Historical consultant on documentary films