Ernst Breisach: Symposium and dinner to honor longtime WMU historian

Historians in the News

A symposium and dinner in late October will honor longtime Western Michigan University historian Dr. Ernst Breisach, professor emeritus of history and distinguished faculty scholar.

Breisach also will be a guest speaker at the Saturday, Oct. 27, event, along with Dr. David E. Barclay, the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies in the Kalamazoo College Department of History. The "Exploring History/Writing History" symposium begins at 1 p.m. in The Little Theatre on Oakland Drive followed by a reception and dinner beginning at 4:30 p.m. across the street in Walwood Hall on WMU's East Campus. Pre-registration is required by Monday, Oct. 15.

Breisach's presentation is titled "Reflections on Life, Time and History." He holds doctorates in both history and economics from the University of Vienna and the Wirtschaftshochschule in Vienna. After emigrating to the United States and teaching at Olivet College, he joined the faculty in the history department at WMU in 1957, teaching for 39 years and serving as department chairperson from 1967 to 1989.

The author of six books and numerous articles, he has been a recipient of fellowships from both the Fulbright Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Breisach has been honored numerous times for his scholarship and teaching contributions. He was the recipient of WMU's Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, which is the highest honor the University bestows on a faculty member, as well as an Academic Excellence Award, which is awarded to just two Michigan professors annually by the Michigan Association of Governing Boards.

Breisach's lecture will draw the connection among the three phenomena of life, time and history. Drawing upon his own experience, he hopes to make a complex topic accessible to those who are not experts in the field. The lecture's topic provides the key theme of his scholarly life.

Barclay's presentation, which will precede Breisach's, is titled "The Crisis in Central Europe between the World Wars" and will provide a context for Breisach's main address. The inter-war years were the formative ones in Breisach's youth in Austria. After Barclay's presentation, Breisach will describe the impact of the crisis on the lives of the Austrian people.

Barclay has taught at Kalamazoo College since 1974. He also serves as the executive director of the German Studies Association, the world's largest interdisciplinary organization of scholars whose work relates to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He is both a fellow of the American Academy of Berlin and a recipient of its 2006-07 Berlin Prize. He recently returned from Germany, where he was researching the history of West Berlin.

Barclay holds a doctorate in history from Stanford University and is the author and editor of numerous scholarly books and articles dealing with the politics of 19th and 20th century Germany. He is the author of the highly acclaimed "Schaut auf diese Stadt. Der Unbekannt Ernst Reuter" a study of West Berlin's internationally famous mayor in the post World War II years.

Read entire article at Press Release--Western Michigan University

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