Nina Verheyen studied modern and ancient history as well as sociology at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin. During her Erasmus scholarship at the University of Rome III, she took a course in film studies. Her Master’s thesis »Burghers as fathers. On the presentation of male emotionality among Hanseatic Burghers in the 19th century« was awarded the young talent award for family research from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. After completing her Master’s, she worked as an academic member of staff in the research group »Civil society: historical and social science perspectives« at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin, before receiving a doctorate scholarship in 2004 to do her PhD there from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (Scholarship Fund of the German people). From 2005 to 2006, she carried out research as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City. In 2008 she completed her doctorate dissertation in »Pleasure in discussion. A cultural history of the ›better argument‹ in West Germany from 1945 to 1973«. In this work, she looks into the complex historical and cultural development of the diverse discussion forums in the post-War history of West Germany and presents public debate as a democratic cultural technique. She compares contrasting constructs from Habermas, Luhmann and Foucault with materials from her archive research and develops her own thesis about the extremely changeable but now widely accepted social practice of private and public debate. Verheyen’s treatment was awarded the Hedwig Hintze Prize by the Institute for Historical and Cultural Studies of the Free University of Berlin. Following that she was a member of the academic staff at the Max Planck Institute of Education Science Berlin in the research area »History of emotions« under the directorship of Professor Dr. Ute Frevert. She wrote the chapter »Age(ing) with feeling« for Frevert’s anthology »Gefühlswissen. Eine lexikalische Spurensuche in der Moderne« (2011; tr. Emotional knowledge. A lexical search in the Modern Age). Verheyen’s research focus lies with communications and media history as well as gender and family history. In collaboration with Manuel Borutta, she published the essay collection »Die Präsenz der Gefühle« (2010; tr. The Presence of Emotions), which looks into images of masculinity in connection with emotions in very different areas of life.
From 2010 to 2011, Verheyen worked as an academic project employee and teacher before changing to the History Institute at the University of Cologne in August 2011. She has also written regular articles on historical and contemporary phenomena. Verheyen is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin in 2013.