Cornelie Usborne

Cornelie Usborne

Professor emerita of History


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I grew up in Munich, Germany and studied German and English literature at Munich University and subsequently trained at the literary publisher, Carl Hanser. After settling in London and working in publishing I decided to go back to university, reading History at the Open University, where I also completed my Ph.D. in Modern German Social History. After teaching at the Open University in 1989 I started teaching history at Roehampton establishing there a curriculum on modern German history. Now I am Professor emerita of History but still very much committed to research and writing. My latest project is on the history of women's sexuality (Imagined Pleasure, Ambivalent Practice: Adultural history of women's sexual narrative in Weimar and Nazi Germany'), based on a variety of ego-documents such as love letters and diaries but also judicial records, official papers, novels, plays and paintings.


Professional affiliations

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London

Member of the German History Society

Member of the Verband Deutscher Historiker 

Research projects

'Imagined Pleasure, Ambivalent Practice. A cultural history of romantic love and women's sexual narratives in Weimar and Nazi Germany', concentrating on women's own stories of their own sexual experiences.

Conference Organisation

2010 Co-organiser, cross-disciplinary conference, 'From Space to Place, the Spatial Dimension in History of Western Europe', at the German Historical Institute, London, for Centre for Research in History & Theory, Roehampton University.

2008 Co-organiser, cross-disciplinary conference, 'The Pictorial Turn in History', Centre for Research in History & Theory, Roehampton University.

2007 Co-organiser, intern. workshop on 'Time and History', Centre for Research in History & Theory, Roehampton University.

1999 Co-organiser, intern. conf., 'The Meaning of Medicine: Cultural approaches to the historical study of medicine in Early Modern and Modern Europe', jointly sponsored by the Society for the Social History of Medicine, London and the Huizinga Institute, Amsterdam, Amsterdam 10 - 12 September. (With additional funding from the Wellcome Trust, London and the Historical Association London and the German Academic Exchange Service).

1996 Co-organiser of an intern. symposium on 'The History of Alternative Medicine in Modern Europe', The Wellcome Institute, London (Travel grants for speakers of the Wellcome symposium, The Wellcome Trust, London and DAAD).

1995 Co-organiser of international conference on 'Gender & Crime in Europe, Early Modern and Modern', Roehampton Institute London (Three travel grants for German speakers by DAAD).

Travel Grant

2009-11British Academy small grant
2001 British Academy small grant
2001 Scouloudie Froundation
2001 The Wellcome Trust
1996 The Wellcome Trust
1994 The Wellcome Trust
1993 German Academic Exchange Service 
1981, 1982 The Open University

Research interests

For many years I have been interested in the cultural, social and gender history of Weimar Germany, especially reproductiion, population policy and sexuality. Recently I have expanded this to include Nazi Germany and the Second World War.

I have also researched and published on notions of space and place and the role of visual images in history.

 My current project is "Imagining Desire, Practicing Pleasure. A Cultureal History of Romantic Love and Women's Sexuality in Weimar and Nazi Germany".

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D. in History

Award Date: 1 Nov 1998

Ph.D. (Open) in History, The Open University

Award Date: 1 Oct 1998

External positions

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London

1 Jan 2010 → …