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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History, and Faculty Director, Human Rights Program, University of Chicago

Axel Springer Fellow - Class of Spring 2004 and Class of Spring 2012

Michael Geyer is the Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History and the Faculty Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focus on twentieth-century German and European history, with a sub-focus on multinational history and the history of humanitarian movements. Geyer has written on a wide range of topics, including the history of the German military, resistance movements during the Third Reich, the politics of memory, religion, the culture of death and sacrifice, and German intellectual history. His recent publications include Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, edited with Sheila Fitzpatrick (Cambridge, 2009), War and Terror in Contemporary and Historical Perspective, as editor, (American Institute for Contemporary German Studies; The Johns Hopkins University, 2003), and A Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories, written with Konrad Jarausch (Princeton University Press, 2002). The latter was named the best historical book in 2003 (English edition), and again in 2006 for the German edition by an international committee. Geyer has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is an honoree of the Humbolt Forschungspreis, and was a DaimlerChrysler Fellow in spring 2004 at the American Academy in Berlin. Born in Freiburg, Germany, Geyer earned his PhD in 1976 at the Albrecht-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, in 1976. After a postdoc position at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, he taught at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor until 1986, when he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago.


Geyer was the inaugural Senior Fellow at the American Academy in spring 2012. He was nominated to the Academy’s Board of Trustees in 2004, and was recused from the Board during his Axel Springer fellowship. He resumed his board position thereafter.

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