Laney cohosts podcast about Operation Paperclip with Michael Ian Black

Monique Laney, an associate professor in history, has been co-hosting a podcast series for Amazon Studios and the Los Angeles Times Studios with actor and comedian Michael Ian Black.

Laney said she received an email inquiry from Tree Fort, a well-known podcasting company, to talk about her expertise in the military project known as Operation Paperclip. Operation Paperclip, which was originally known as Operation Overcast, was a secret intelligence program that brought Nazi scientists to America after World War II. These scientists contributed to American advancements in rocketry, aviation, military technology, and chemical weapons.

“I was contacted by the producer and during our conversation, it became apparent that she was actually interviewing me to be one of the co-hosts of the show,” Laney recalled. “The producer, Lisa Ammerman, said she liked my particular take and the way that I approach the topic, and that’s how this collaboration began.”

In the podcast series “Paperclip: America’s Nazi Scientist,” Laney co-hosts with Black to examine this little-known and shocking piece of American history, one episode at a time.

Laney co-hosts the first five podcasts in the series and the fifth episode is scheduled to drop on Tuesday, June 16.

To listen to the series, go to:

Laney joined the Department of History in 2014. Her research combines the history of science and technology and migration studies by focusing on "highly skilled" migrants. In her first book, German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era (Yale University Press, 2015), she studies the German rocket specialists and their families who were brought to the United States after World War II under the military operation Project Paperclip and later followed the Army to Huntsville, Alabama. Led by Wernher von Braun, the German rocket team has been celebrated internationally for its contributions to the Army’s missile and NASA’s space programs. Based on oral histories and archival material, the book examines this post-World War II 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.

Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era won the 2015 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2016 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 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.

Laney has received multiple awards for her research, including a grant from the National Science Foundation, two fellowships at Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, and two fellowships sponsored by NASA. Currently, Laney is working on multiple projects related to the global movement of highly skilled migrants.

In addition to teaching the Technology & Civilization sequence, Dr. Laney offers courses on the Cold War, space exploration, history of popular culture, oral history, and immigration history. In addition, she serves as a committee member for the Brooke Hindle Postdoctoral Fellowship for the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and recently has become treasurer for the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS).

Before coming to Auburn, Dr. Laney taught History and American Studies courses for universities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Laney spent eight years working in the Information Technology industry as a consultant, trainer, and customer liaison, prior to returning to school for her Ph.D.


Written by Vicky Santos | Director, News & Media Service | College of Liberal Arts | Auburn University 

Last Updated: June 15, 2020