Prof. Dr. Axel SchäferUniv-Prof. Dr., Chair of American History
My current research project examines the role immigration policies and discourses have played in the formation of modern welfare states. In this context I also explore the coalescence of art, design, technology, social reform, and radical politics in areas such as urban planning, social housing, and the cooperative movement in the United States, Britain, and Germany in the decade after World War I. Moreover, I’m working on various studies that explore the international engagement of American evangelicals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and review the binaries of isolationism/internationalism and realism/idealism that are often ill-suited to describe the range of U.S. foreign policy positions in the period after World War II.
A few years ago I helped set up a new organization of historians of the twentieth-century US (HOTCUS). I’m also active in international professional bodies, including the Membership Committee of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the Council of the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era (SHGAPE).
My main teaching fields are:
- Twentieth Century U.S. Political and Cultural History
- Nineteenth and Twentieth Century U.S. Intellectual History
- Religion and Politics in the United States
- History of the American West
- Cultural History of U.S. Social Policy
- Transatlantic Social Thought and Reform
In my teaching I approach American Studies from an interdisciplinary perspective. In many of my courses I explore the interaction of history and culture, combining, for example, analyses of the myth of the West with explorations of the region’s history; cultural images of poverty and the making of social policy; religious imagery and political mobilization; and social ideas and social movements. I have extensive experience teaching on both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a number of different countries.
Prof. Dr. Axel Schäfer
Please note: Professor Schäfer is on research sabbatical for the winter term of 2020/21.