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Professor Heike Bauer

  • Overview



    Heike Bauer is Professor of Modern Literature and Cultural History, and Head of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Birkbeck.

    She has published widely on literature and the modern history of sexuality, the intersections between queer and animal histories, and the rise of queer and feminist graphic novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, member of the AHRC Peer Review College, advisory group member of Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Studies (BiGS), co-convenor of the History of Sexuality Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, and member of the editorial boards of Australian Feminist Studies, History of the Human Sciences, and Gender & History. 

    Her research received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the British Academy (UK), the Wellcome Trust (UK), the Leslie Centre for the Humanities at Dartmouth College (USA), the Cornelia Goethe Centrum at Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany), the Christina Institute at Helsinki University (Finland), William & Mary University (USA) and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University (USA).

    Heike teaches and supervises doctoral students on topics relating to gender and sexuality in fiction, history, culture and criticism since the nineteenth-century including projects that cut across conventional period and disciplinary boundaries.




    • PhD, Birkbeck, University of London, 2004
    • MA , University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1999

    Web profiles


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Modern history of sexuality / queer history
    • Fiction & graphic narratives (nineteenth-century to contemporary)
    • Animal history, especially dogs and cats

    Research overview

    I have research interests in literature and the modern histories of gender and sexuality, animal history, visual culture & LGBTQI+ history, fiction and graphic memoirs. 

    To date I have published six books, three special journal issues and over twenty articles and chapters in edited collections, most recently Jewish Women in Comics: Bodies and Borders, co-edited with Andrea Greenbaum and Sarah Lightman (Syracuse University Press, 2023), and 'Visual Archives of Sex', co-edited with Melina Pappademos, Katie Sutton & Jennifer Tucker, which was published by Radical History Review 142 (2022). 

    I'm now working on two major projects:

    1) a multi-dimensional cultural history of the ‘dangerous dog’. It draws on a wide range of literary, newspaper and scientific sources to examine how the idea that certain types of dogs are more dangerous than others took hold in the modern imagination. On 9 December 2022 I hosted a Wellcome ISSF-funded symposium on dogs and danger featuring historians, social scientists, literary and cultural scholars, and veterinary professionals.

    2) a major study of the intersections between modern queer and animal histories tentatively titled Pets: Queer History. It turns attention to the cats and dogs who shared their lives with some of the iconic figures of queer modernity. Related work includes 'In the Canine Archives of Sex: Radclyffe Hall, Una Troubridge and their Dogs' published by Gender & History in 2022, and a short piece, 'Queer Dogs' published in the Queer Objects (2019) collection edited by Chris Brickell and Judith Collard.

    Queer history was also the focus of my most recent monograph, The Hirschfeld Archives: Violence, Death, and Modern Queer Culture (Temple University Press, 2017). Funded by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (you can read the AHRC feature on it here), it examines little known and forgotten writings by Magnus Hirschfeld, the influential sexologist who is best known today for his homosexual activism, transgender work and founding of the world's first Institute of Sexual Science in 1919. It shows that violence had a significant impact on queer lives around 1900, but also reveals the gendered and racialized limits of the emerging homosexual rights movement in the West. Winner of a Knowledge Unlatched award, the book has been reviewed widely, for example in the THE, TSQ, Australian Feminist Studies, Gay & Lesbian Review, Journal of the History of Sexuality, and Gender and History

    Research Centres and Institutes

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    The first of my PhD students graduated in 2012. Since then I have supervised successfully to completion a wide range of projects including those rooted in English Studies, broadly conceived, and those that cut across conventional disciplinary boundaries and/or work across different languages. My students have been funded by the AHRC/CHASE, Birkbeck School of Arts, and Canadian and Japanese Government grants. Several of them have established successful academic careers while others are working in the arts, teaching and the social sector. 

    I welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students with interests in gender and sexuality, especially on topics relating to:

    • Modern and contemporary LGBTQI+ history and fiction 
    • The history of sexuality / sexology/ LGBTQI+ pasts
    • Animal studies / animal history, especially relating to dogs
    • Visual cultures / graphic memoirs
    • Archives
    • Translation & the cross-cultural travel of ideas

    Please contact me ( if you would like an informal discussion about your ideas for an MPhil/PhD.

    Details on the application format and process can be found here.


    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    I teach core and option modules at all levels, from first-year BA classes to MA seminars and PhD training sessions.

    Current and recent teaching contributions include at undergraduate level Writing London (level 4); The Production of the Human: Decolonizing the Canon (level 4), Reading Literature (level 4), and Literature and Cultural Identity: Intersectionalities of Race, Class and Gender (level 6).

    At graduate level they include New Directions in Cultural and Critical Studies (core module, MA Cultural and Critical Studies), Becoming Modern (core module, MA Modern & Contemporary Literature) and a popular MA option, Disciplining Sex: Sexuality, Society, and Modern Literary Culture, which is open to students on a wide range of MAs in the College.

    I also contribute to Decadence (MA option), Critical Entanglements in the Medical Humanities (core module MA Medical Humanities), the MA/MSc Gender, Sexuality and Culture/Society, and the department's doctorial training programme.


  • Publications




    Book Review

    Book Section


  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • LGBTQI+ history
    • LGBTQI+ fiction
    • History of sexuality - sexology
    • Animal history - dogs
    • Comics and graphic memoirs


      I regularly share my research with a wide range of audiences.

      I have, for example, published in the THE, contributed to the popular blog Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality, facilitated a workshop on anti-queer violence for humanities scholars and medical professionals, led a public roundtable discussion featuring LGBTQI+ curators, and given public lectures including in libraries such as the London Metropolitan Archives and museums such as the Schwules Museum* Berlin.