Department of History

Monique Laney

Monique Laney Assistant Professor
327 Thach Hall
(334) 844-4347
Personal web site

Office Hours

  • Wednesday 3:00-4:00
  • Friday 3:00-4:00


Monique Laney joined Auburn University in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of History. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Kansas in 2009 and her M.A. in Amerikanistik at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1995. Her current research focuses on the immigration history of migrants with “special skills.”.

Laney is the author of German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era (Yale University Press, 2015), for which she received the 2016 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Astronautical Society’s (AAS) 2015 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award,  and honorable mention for the Deep South Book Prize of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. This study’s main subjects are the German rocket specialists associated with Wernher von Braun and their families, who were brought to the United States after World War II under the military operation Project Paperclip, most of whom followed the Army to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1950. Led by von Braun, the German rocket team was later celebrated internationally for its contributions to the Army’s missile and later NASA’s space programs. Based on oral histories and archival material, the book examines post-Second World War international and national migration linked to military and “Big Science” projects and the effects of this migration on a small southern community, race relations in the U.S. South, and negotiations over U.S. history, memory, and identity during the Cold War.

Laney received funding for her research from multiple entities, including the AHA-NASA Fellowship in Aerospace History in 2011, the A. Verville Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2010, the SHOT Fellowship in the History of Space Technology, supported by NASA, in 2009-2010, a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF): Science, Technology and Society Program (STS) in 2008, the Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities at the University of Kansas in 2008, and a Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2007.

Before coming to Auburn, Dr. Laney taught for the history department and American Studies program at American University and for the history department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Shady Grove campus) in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.


Ph.D.      University of Kansas, American Studies, August, 2009

M.A.        Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität (Frankfurt, Germany), Amerikanistik, June 1995
                Minors: 1. Slavic Philology (East), 2. Psychoanalysis

Representative Publications

  • “’Operation Paperclip’ in Huntsville, Alabama,” Steven J. Dick, ed. Remembering the Space Age. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2008, 89-107.
  • “Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph: Negotiating the past in Huntsville, Alabama,” Schulze, Mathias, James M.Skidmore, David G. John, Grit Liebscher, and Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach, eds., German Diasporic Experiences: Identity, Migration, and Loss. Waterloo, ON: WilfridLaurierUniversity Press, 2008, 443-454.
  • “The New York Times and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Two Perspectives on the War in Iraq,” ed. Kurthen, Hermann; Antonio V. Menendez-Alarcon; and Stefan Immerfall. Safeguarding German-American Relations in the New Century: Understanding and Accepting Mutual Differences. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books – Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, 177-198.

Classes Taught

  • HIST 7970 Immigration and Technology
  • HIST 5000/6000 NASA and the South
  • HIST 3970 U.S. Technology through Foreign Eyes
  • HIST 1220 Technology and Civilization II
  • HIST 1210 Technology and Civilization I

Last Updated: May 23, 2019