Dr Benno Gammerl

Staff details

PositionLecturer in History
Department History
Email b.gammerl (
Dr Benno Gammerl

Benno Gammerl is currently researching the interplay between migratory dynamics and sexual attitudes and practices in Europe since the late nineteenth century. In his work he has so far focused on the contemporary history of homosexualities in Germany and on the administration of ethnic heterogeneity in the British and Habsburg Empires from 1867 to 1918 (the English translation of this monograph will be published as Subjects, Citizens and Others with Berghahn Books. As he is convinced that history benefits immensely from partaking in broader theoretical and methodological debates, Gammerl has engaged with postcolonial theories, queer approaches, oral history methods and the history of emotions.

Gammerl has co-organised numerous conferences including one on the interplay between sexuality and exoticization as well as one on emotional styles. He has also edited and co-edited several journal issues. In addition to his academic endeavours Gammerl is campaigning for the establishment of the Elberskirchen-Hirschfeld-Haus for queer research, education and culture in Berlin.

Academic qualifications

Benno Gammerl has studied in Germany and the United Kingdom. He holds master’s degrees from Goldsmiths College (2000) and the Freie Universität Berlin (2003) where he also obtained his PhD in 2008. This study won the Friedrich Meinecke Prize of the Freie Universität Berlin in 2009 and the Wolfgang J. Mommsen Award of the German Historical Institute in London in 2012. Gammerl did research and taught at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Centre for the History of Emotions in Berlin, before the German Academic Exchange Service enabled him to join Goldsmiths as a Lecturer in Queer History in 2017.


BA first year

Self, Citizen and Nation

BA second and third year

Histories of Sexualities


Sexualities and Transnational Mobilities in the 20th Century

Research Skills

Areas of supervision

Research Interests

Research Interests

Benno Gammerl conducts research, first, on British and Habsburg ways of administering ethnic heterogeneity around 1900, second, on the contemporary history of homosexualities in Germany, and third, on the interplay between migratory dynamics and sexual attitudes and practices in Europe since the late nineteenth century. On the first topic Gammerl wrote his doctoral thesis which was based on extensive research in British and Austrian archives and argued that British imperial regimes of citizenship relied heavily on racist discriminations, while Habsburg policies were rather leaning towards a politics of recognition of ethnic diversity. This study has been published in German in 2010 and will appear in English translation in 2017.

Gammerl approaches the second topic, the contemporary history of homosexualities in Germany, primarily from a history of emotions perspective and with a view to differences between urban and rural spaces. For this study he did oral history interviews with same-sex loving women and men born between 1935 and 1970. This approach allowed for shifting the focus from the level of legislation and discourse to the levels of intimate memories and experiences. The analysis made clear that historians of homosexualities should not rely too exclusively on narratives of liberalization leading from shame to pride. It is crucial to also keep an eye on the new anxieties and worries about failing that came along with destigmatization, emancipation and normalization.

Gammerl’s third and most recent research project on the interplay between migratory dynamics and sexual attitudes challenges the alleged hierarchy between liberal ‘Western’ and repressive ‘Muslim’ sexual regimes so prominent in present-day debates about immigration. The study asks for example what position the suffragettes took within British debates about curtailing immigration in the early twentieth century. Based on first-person accounts, the project simultaneously focuses on the open-endedness of everyday encounters between people whose sexual lives differed significantly and argues that this diversity could not only impede, but also aid struggles for sexual liberation.

All in all, Gammerl’s research explores the intersections between ethnic and sexual diversity. It considers measures enforced by governments as well as emancipatory struggles fought by certain groups and strategies that individual actors relied on when navigating these contested terrains. Thus Gammerl ventures to open up fresh vistas onto the past and to provide insights that can stimulate political and societal interventions in the present.

Professional Activities

Editorial Board, Jahrbuch Sexualitäten – Yearbook Sexualities [INSERT LINK:], since 2015

Member, Scientific Advisory Board of the Berlin Senate for LGBTI* History, since 2013)

Adjunct Researcher, Centre for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Research 


Reaching out to broader publics

Benno Gammerl has been interviewed for several newspaper articles and radio programmes in Germany. He is organising a series of public events that discuss queer perspectives on the crime film genre and is a member of the artists’ collective UNWETTER that arranges discursive picnics in varied settings. In 2009 Gammerl partook in the Mobile Academy’s performance Am Schauplatz der Intimität – On the Scene of Intimacy with a conversation in German with film-maker Jochen Hick on rural homosexualities in the Berlin theatre Hebbel am Ufer. Some of Gammerl’s  talks and presentations can also be found online, like Difference rules. Governing ethnically diverse populations in the British and the Habsburg empires, Göttingen 2013, and Curtains Up: New Venues for Gay Men and Shifting Emotional Styles Since the 1960s, Sydney 2016.




Gammerl, Benno. In print. Subjects, Citizens and Others. Administering Ethnic Heterogeneity in the British and Habsburg Empires, 1867-1918. Translated from the German by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN  978-1-78533-709-3.

Gammerl, Benno. 2010. Untertanen, Staatsbürger und Andere. Der Umgang mit ethnischer Heterogenität im Britischen Weltreich und im Habsburgerreich, 1867-1918. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 978-3-525-37011-7.


Edited and co-edited journal issues

Gammerl, Benno, with Beate Binder, Joachim Häberlen, Jan Hutta and Monique Scheer. In print. Feeling Differently, Emotion, Space and Society.

Gammerl, Benno, with Simone Derix, Christiane Reinecke and Nina Verheyen. 2016. Der Wert der Dinge, Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History, 13(3).

Gammerl, Benno, with Rainer Herrn. 2015. Gefühlsräume – Raumgefühle, sub\urban, 3(2).

Gammerl, Benno. 2012. Emotional styles - concepts and challenges, Rethinking History, 16(2).


Peer-reviewed journal articles

Gammerl, Benno, with Jan Hutta and Monique Scheer. 2017. Feeling differently: Approaches and their politics. Emotion, Space and Society. Advance online publication.

Gammerl, Benno, with Rainer Herrn. 2015. Gefühlsräume—Raumgefühle: Perspektiven auf die Verschränkung von emotionalen Praktiken und Topografien der Moderne. sub\urban, 3(2), pp. 7-22.

Gammerl, Benno, with Volker Wotersdorff. 2014. ‘Sie ham mir ein Gefühl geklaut…‘: Queer-feministische Perspektiven auf Bewegungen zwischen Sex und Gefühl. Freiburger Zeitschrift für Geschlechterstudien, 20(2), pp. 27-41.

Gammerl, Benno. 2013. Queer Romance? Romantische Liebe in den biographischen Erzählungen von westdeutschen Lesben und Schwulen. L’Homme: Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, 24(1), pp. 15-34.

Gammerl, Benno. 2012. Emotional Styles: Concepts and Challenges. Rethinking History, 16(2), pp. 161-75.

Gammerl, Benno. 2009. Erinnerte Liebe: Was kann eine Oral History zur Geschichte der Gefühle und der Homosexualitäten beitragen? Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 35(2), pp. 314-45.

Gammerl, Benno. 2009. Subjects, Citizens and Others: The Handling of Ethnic Differences in the British and the Habsburg Empires (Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century). European Review of History, 16(4), pp. 523-49.

Gammerl, Benno. 2006. Nation, State or Empire: Subjecthood and Citizenship in British and Habsburg Empires at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Ab Imperio, 4, pp. 301-27 [in Russian].


Book Sections and further journal articles

Gammer, Benno, with Yener Bayramoğlu and Carolin Küppers. 2017. Queere Fluchten: Welche emanzipatorischen Chancen bergen die aktuellen Debatten und Dynamiken? Jahrbuch Sexualitäten, 2, pp. 15-42.

Gammerl, Benno. 2017. Eine makellose Liebe? Emotionale Praktiken und der homophile Kampf um Anerkennung. In: Bernhard Gotto and Elke Seefried, eds. Männer mit Makel: Männlichkeiten und gesellschaftlicher Wandel in der frühen Bundesrepublik. Berlin: DeGruyter Oldenbourg, pp. 104-113.

Gammerl, Benno. 2016. Curtains up! Shifting emotional styles in gay men's venues since the 1950s. SQS: Suomen Queer-tutkimuksen Seuran Lehti, 10, pp. 57-64.

Gammerl, Benno. 2015. Can you feel your research results? How to deal with and gain insights from emotions generated during oral history interviews. In: Helena Flam and Jochen Kleres, eds. Methods of exploring emotions. London: Routledge, pp. 153-162.

Gammerl, Benno. 2015. Ist frei sein normal? Männliche Homosexualitäten seit den 1960er Jahren zwischen Emanzipation und Normalisierung. In: Peter-Paul Bänziger, Magdalena Beljan, Franz X. Eder and Pascal Eitler, eds. Sexuelle Revolution? Zur Geschichte der Sexualität im deutschsprachigen Raum seit den 1960er Jahren. Bielefeld: transcript-Verlag, pp. 223-243.

Gammerl, Benno. 2015. Jenseits der Metronormativität? Westdeutsche Lesben und Schwule zwischen Land und Stadt. In: Franz-Werner Kersting and Clemens Zimmermann, eds. Stadt-Land-Beziehungen im 20. Jahrhundert. Paderborn: Schöningh, pp. 155-175.

Gammerl, Benno. 2015. Quelles couleurs pour l'arc-en-ciel de demain? Tour d'horizon des homosexualités en Allemagne. In : Hans Stark and Nele K. Wissmann, eds. L'Allemagne change! Risques et défis d'une mutation. Villeneuve d'Ascq: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, pp. 87-102.

Gammerl, Benno, with Magdalena Beljan. 2014. Wendy's love. In : Ute Frevert et al. Learning how to feel: Children's literature and emotional socialization, 1870-1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 115-133.

Gammerl, Benno. 2014. Felt distances. In: Ute Frevert et al. Emotional lexicons: Continuity and change in the vocabulary of feeling 1700-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 177-200.

Gammerl, Benno. 2014. Transitory feelings? On challenges and trends within the history of emotions. Contemporanea: Rivista di Storia dell'800 e del '900, 17, pp. 335-344.

Gammerl, Benno, with Bettina Hitzer. 2013. Wohin mit den Gefühlen? Vergangenheit und Zukunft des Emotional Turn in den Geschichtswissenschaften. Berliner Debatte Initial, 24(3), pp. 31-40.

Gammerl, Benno. 2012. Frau Muskeltyp, Herr Hexe und Fräulein Butch? Geschlechtlichkeiten und Homosexualitäten in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. In: Julia Paulus, Eva-Maria Silies and Kerstin Wolf, eds. Zeitgeschichte als Geschlechtergeschichte: Neue Perspektiven auf die Bundesrepublik. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, pp. 225-245.

Gammerl, Benno. 2012. Mit von der Partie oder auf Abstand? Biografische Perspektiven schwuler Männer und lesbischer Frauen auf die Emanzipationsbewegungen der 1970er Jahre. In: Andreas Pretzel and Volker Weiß, eds. Rosa Radikale? Die Schwulenbewegung der 1970er Jahre. Hamburg: Männerschwarm Verlag, pp. 160-176.

Gammerl, Benno. 2011. Der Vergleich von Reich zu Reich: Überlegungen zum Imperienvergleich anhand des britisch-habsburgischen Beispiels. In: Agnes Arndt, Joachim Häberlen amd Christiane Reinecke, eds. Vergleichen, verflechten, verwirren? Europäische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Theorie und Praxis. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 221-242.

Gammerl, Benno. 2010. Eine Regenbogengeschichte. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 60(15-16), 7-13.

Gammerl, Benno. 2010. Schwule Gefühle? Homosexualität und emotionale Männlichkeiten zwischen 1960 und 1990 in Westdeutschland. In: Manuel Borutta and Nina Verheyen, eds. Die Präsenz der Gefühle: Männlichkeit und Emotion in der Moderne. Bielefeld: transcript-Verlag, pp. 255-278.