Richard Steigmann-Gall is Associate Professor of History at Kent State University, and served from 2004 to 2010 as Director of the Jewish Studies Program. He received his BA in 1989 and MA in 1992 from the University of Michigan, and his PhD in 1999 from the University of Toronto. His academic interests concern the cultural and religious dimensions of German National Socialism, specifically the cohort of Nazis who believed in "positive Christianity" and the struggles they waged with Nazism's neo-pagans for religious dominance in the Third Reich. His articles have appeared in the journals German History, Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, Social History, Central European History, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, and The Journal of Contemporary History. His book, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, came out in 2003 through Cambridge University Press, and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Holy Reich has been reviewed broadly in the popular and academic press, has been the subject of interviews in The Boston Globe and with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is the subject of a symposium of international scholars in the Journal of Contemporary History.
His recent scholarly activity includes contributions to several edited volumes, one on political religion theory published in Germany through Wallstein Verlag, and another on racial and religious antisemitism published through Indiana University Press. He has also contributed the chapter on Religion and the Churches to the benchmark Oxford Short History of Germany: The Third Reich, and the chapter on Germany to the Clerical Fascism volume through Routledge. He has presented his research at several academic venues in North America and Europe, including Indiana University, Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas-Austin, King's College at the University of London, the Max Planck Institut in Goettingen, and at the Modern European Research Seminar in the Faculty of History at Cambridge University. He was also featured in a documentary on Hitler's religious views that aired on The History Channel in 2009.
His current research interests include the ideological origins of American Fascism, and conceptions of mutability and identity in the Third Reich. The ways in which Nazis attempted to gauge the racial affiliation of those who, in the Nazi imagination, were neither German nor Jewish, has long been a question of debate. How the Nazis determined racial identity for so-called half-castes of mixed European and non-European ancestry, and the ways in which the Nazis acknowledged that cultural categories guided their racial thinking, are among the questions his current research interests seek to answer. In support of his research he has earned grants and awards from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Max-Planck Institut fuer Geschichte in Germany, the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism in Israel, the Faculty of History at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as from the Office of Research and Graduate Study at Kent State University.
At universities in the United States and Canada, he has taught a variety of courses relating to different aspects of modern European and Jewish history, including lecture courses on Germany since 1870, Modern Europe, 1890-1945, and The Holocaust, as well as undergraduate and graduate colloquia on topics such as Historiography, Comparative Fascism, and Religion and Society in the Modern West. He won the Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State in 2004, and has been nominated an additional three times. He also supervises PhD and MA students in topics relating to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Department of History
Room 321B Bowman Hall