Short Bio


I research, write, and teach about the United States in a global context with special emphases on human migration, science and technology, the U.S. South, popular culture, and public history. My recently published book, titled German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era, is an interdisciplinary study based on oral histories and archival material about the immigration, integration, and memory of the German rocket experts associated with Wernher von Braun who were brought to the United States after World War II and later became famous for their contributions to NASA’s Apollo Program. You can watch a presentation of my research, read related blog posts here and here , or you can listen to a great podcast by the Southern Foodways Alliance, for which I was recently interviewed.

Raised by an American father and German mother in Tuscaloosa, AL, and Frankfurt, Germany, I reinforced my bi-cultural upbringing by earning an M.A. degree at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany, and a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas—both in American Studies. Before returning to graduate school for the Ph.D., I spent eight years working in the Information Technology industry as a consultant, trainer, and customer liaison.

My book won the 2015 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award from the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the 2016 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as well as an honorable mention for the Deep South Book Prize of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. I received funding for my scholarship from multiple prestigious entities, including two fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and two fellowships funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—one from the American Historical Association (AHA) and the other from the Society for History of Technology (SHOT).

I moved back to Alabama in fall 2014 to join the History Department at Auburn University.  You can find my university profile here.


I can be contacted at: laney.monique(AT)gmail(DOT)com