SUNY Potsdam Prof Edits Book with German Potsdam Colleague


Two Potsdam professors have come together to publish a book, but instead of across campus, their collaboration is across the ocean. That’s because one faculty member is from The State University of New York at Potsdam, and the other is from the University of Potsdam in Germany, located in the Prussian city that the New York community—and the college—are named for.

SUNY Potsdam Assistant Professor of History Dr. Axel Fair-Schultz and University of Potsdam Associate Professor of Contemporary History Dr. Mario Kessler have co-edited a book.

The work, “German Scholars in Exile: New Studies in Intellectual History” has been published as part of the "Perspectives on Modern Society and Culture" series by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

“As both authors are affiliated with ‘Potsdam,’ in either the American or German incarnation, this book constitutes a Potsdam/Potsdam transatlantic collaborative effort,” said SUNY Potsdam Department of History Chair M.J. Heisey. “This international scope of the book is timely, especially in a day and age of ever-increasing globalization.”

“German Scholars in Exile” deals with intellectuals who fled Nazi Germany and found refuge in either the United States or in American Services in Great Britain and post-WWII Germany. The volume focuses on scholars who were outside the commonly known Max Horkheimer-Hannah Arendt circles, who are less well-known but no less important. Their experiences ranged from an outstanding career at an Ivy League university to a return to the German Democratic Republic and a position as an economic advisor to East Berlin’s party leadership. None had actual political power, but many asserted some degree of influence. Their intellectual legacies can still be seen in today’s political culture.

Dr. Axel Fair-Schulz was educated in both Germany and the United States and has lived in Canada for many years, where he has also taught. He came to SUNY Potsdam as a history professor in 2006 after his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Potsdam in Germany and its affiliated Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies. Fair-Schulz has also established scholarly connections between the Moses Mendelssohn Center as well as the Center for Contemporary History and SUNY Potsdam. He has taken his SUNY Potsdam students to Potsdam, Germany, where they have worked at those institutions.

His own life reflects the theme of his scholarship, which probes into how intellectuals have built bridges between different political and scholarly cultures. Fair-Schulz has published extensively on European and American intellectual history. His previous book, “Loyal Subversion: East Germany's Intellectuals” came out in 2009. He also writes regularly for several German and Canadian newspapers and magazines, addressing cultural, historical and political phenomena.

The Department of History at SUNY Potsdam offers students the opportunity to explore the human experience over time, from the beginnings of recorded history to the present, in a wide variety of geographical settings and cultural contexts. While studying the past with a faculty committed to excellence in the classroom, students develop essential skills in critical reading, writing, speaking and thinking.

To learn more about the College’s history faculty, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.