Academic pursuits: “For reasons that aren't quite clear to me, I’ve been interested in the history of Germany and World War II for most of my life. As an undergraduate, I studied German and spent a year in Germany. I returned determined to learn more about German history. In graduate school and most of the years beyond, I researched and wrote about Germany’s recovery from the Second World War. A nation of 80 million at the geographic, political, and economic center of Europe, Germany not only fascinated me, but also seemed worthy of writing and teaching about.
“Recently I’ve developed a new research project about the era during which I first became aware of Germany. I’m focusing on a clash between terrorism, democracy, and liberty in Germany in the 1970’s that culminated in murders, kidnappings, skyjackings, rescues, and suicides in the fall of 1977. I believe that autumn was the moment when Germany proved that it could reconcile security and order with freedom and democracy, a challenge the Germans had failed to meet during the decade of Hitler’s rise to power. The events of 1977 can therefore form an explanation for Germany’s success and its consolidation as a liberal democracy at the core of a stable, prosperous, democratic, and free European Union.”
Courses: History of Western Civilization, Modern Germany, Europe since 1918, Hitler & Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, World War I and World War II, and The Cold War.
Teaching philosophy: “Set a good example (especially regarding punctuality, openness to thoughtful suggestions, and willingness to do extra work). Be willing to say ‘I don’t know’ every time it’s true. Insist on respect for the learning environment and the subject, but always be willing to laugh.”
Secret of success as a teacher: “Empathy.”
Favorite quote on knowledge: “If you know exactly what you’re going to do, what’s the point in doing it?” – Pablo Picasso