SUNY Potsdam Assistant Professor of History Dr. Axel Fair-Schulz has published “Loyal Subversion: East Germany and its Bildungsbürgerlich Marxist Intellectuals,” which explores the impact of a specific generation of critical Marxist intellectuals of bildungsbürgerlich extraction.
Dr. Fair-Schulz will discuss his new book on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. in SUNY Potsdam’s Raymond Hall eighth floor lounge.
The book grew out of Dr. Fair-Schulz’s Ph.D. dissertation at SUNY Buffalo, which focuses on the interaction between certain intellectuals and the society in which they lived. The book focuses on the power of ideas, which have always interested Dr. Fair-Schulz.
Dr. Fair-Schulz analyzes why and how these intellectuals have shaped the society and culture of the former German Democratic Republic. He addresses three case studies that include the economic historian Jürgen Kuczynski, the writer Stephan Hermlin and the journalist Hermann Budzislawski.
“Kuczynski was the most interesting and enjoyable, inasmuch as I’m currently writing a biography about him and getting to know every corner of his life,” said Dr. Fair-Schulz.
Dr. Fair-Schulz was born on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the once eminent silver-mining city of Freiberg and grew up on the Baltic Coast, both in the former Communist German Democratic Republic.
He noted he was fortunate enough to travel to various Eastern bloc countries while growing up, and his desire to travel and pursue opportunities elsewhere led him to the United States and then to Canada.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and anthropology from Brigham Young University, he went on to get his Master in Arts degree in European history and wrote his thesis about the East German dissident scientist Robert Havemann, a chemist and critical Marxist who was first condemned to death by the Nazi Regime and then persecuted by East Germany’s Communist regime.
Dr. Fair-Schulz said his research interests stem from his own background, growing up with an acute awareness in the dissident influences in East Germany.
He went on to pursue a Ph.D. in German history, with the renowned historiographer Georg Iggers, focusing on the social and cultural foundations of intellectual and political history. Among the highlights of his research was the opportunity to meet with and interview several key figures of 20th-century European history.
Before coming to SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Fair-Schulz taught and presented his research at various colleges and universities in Canada, Germany and the United States. Among his publications are numerous book reviews on East Germany, and he has contributed several book chapters, as well as scholarly articles on German refugee intellectuals and historians.
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