The University of Iowa

H. Glenn Penny

Associate Professor
Modern European History
Modern Germany
Colonialism and Empire
History of Anthropology
111 Schaeffer Hall
Office Hours: 
T 2:00-3:30 & W 12:30-2:00 and by appointment
Phone Number: 
(319) 335-2310

Glenn Penny is interested in relationships between Europeans and non-Europeans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is particularly interested in Germans’ broad engagement with the wider world. His first book, Objects of Culture, was the first comparative study of German ethnographic museums as well as the first in-depth analysis of the international market of material culture that took shape during the late nineteenth century. It challenged notions of unitary "German" developments in the cultural sciences by demonstrating the ways in which international discourses about the multiplicity of humanity and the importance of science were channeled and shaped by local needs, regional concerns, and popular audiences in the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig and Munich.

Glenn's second book, Kindred by Choice:  Germans and American Indians since `1800 (UNC Press 2013), explores the striking sense of affinity for American Indians that has permeated German culture for two centuries.  It shows how those affinities stem from German polycentrism, notions of tribalism, a devotion to resistance, a longing for freedom, and a melancholy sense of shared fate.  It also details the ways in which Germans’ fascination with the American West were connected to Germans’ long-term interactions with the United States and the transnational world of German culture that spread across the Atlantic during the nineteenth century.  Glenn uses this history to address broader questions about German settler colonialism in the American Midwest; the rise and fall of German America; the transnational world of American Indian performers and postwar activists; notions of comparative genocide; persistent conceptions of masculinity; and the ways in which a range of American Indians helped to channel and shape German ideas about human difference.  Perhaps most importantly, this project pushed him to rethink the relationships between continuities and ruptures in current narratives of modern German history and to suggest ways for its respatialization.

Glenn is currently pursuing a project on German Diasporic Communities in Latin America as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Freie Universität in Berlin.
In 2000, Glenn Penny's dissertation won the Fritz Stern Prize from the German Historical Institute, and his first book received awards from the American Anthropological Association and the European Section of the Southern Historical Association. Glenn has also been awarded fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, the Center for Advanced Studies in Munich, the German Academic Exchange, the Social Science Research Council, and the Institute for European History in Mainz. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1999.


Glenn teaches courses on nineteenth and twentieth centuries German and European history, on historiography, and on the cult of progress in modern Europe. He also teaches graduate seminars on modern Europe, Colonialism and Empire, and Critical Theory. Courses recently taught include:

• HIST:4473 (16E:155) German History 1648-1918
• HIST:4428 (16E:134) Nineteenth Century Europe
• HIST:2403 (16:003) Western Civilization III
• HIST:7445 (16:234) Readings in Colonialism and Empire in European History
• HIST:7440 (16:240) Readings in Modern German History
• HIST:7199 (16:299) History Workshop:  Theory and Interpretation
• 16:237 European Encounters with North America


Awards & Service: 

• Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Fellowship (2012)
• Visiting Fellow, Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Berlin (2011)
• German Historical Institute, Washington DC Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Spring Semester 2008)
• Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung, (Center for Contemporary Historical Research) Potsdam, Summer Research Fellowship (2007)
• The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship (2006-2007)
• Charles Smith Book Award from the European Section of the Southern Historical Association (2004)
• Nineteenth Century Studies Association Article Prize (2003)
• "William A. Douglass Book Prize in Europeanist Anthropology," Honorable Mention. The American Anthropological Association (2003)
• National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2003-2004)
• American Philosophical Society Research Grant (2003)
• American Historical Association Bernadotte E. Schmitt Research Grant (2001)
• Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange) Research Grant (2001)
• Friends of the German Historical Institute Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize in German History (2000)
• James Bryant Conant Fellowship in German and European Studies at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University (1999)
• Joseph Ward Swain Prize for the best publication by a graduate student, University of Illinois (1997)
• Institute for European History (Mainz, Germany) Fellowship (1997)
• Social Science Research Council--Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies Research Fellowship (1995-1996)