Engerman, Willrich tapped for endowed professorships

Michael Willrich (left) and David EngermanPhoto/Mike Lovett

Michael Willrich (left) and David Engerman

Historians David Engerman and Michael Willrich have been given endowed professorships.

Susan J. Birren, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, named Engerman the Ottilie Springer Professor of History and Willrich the Leff Families Professor of History.

"David and Michael are valued colleagues who epitomize the best of Brandeis,” said Birren. “They are outstanding and recognized scholars in their fields who pull both undergraduate and graduate students into their intellectual explorations."

Willrich studies U.S. social and political history, with special interests in legal and urban history, the politics of criminal justice and public health, and the Progressive Era (1890-1920). He earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago and has been lauded for his award-winning books, most recently “Pox: An American History,” published in 2011 as part of the prestigious Penguin History of American Life. A sweeping analysis of the last small pox epidemic in the U.S., “Pox” won major prizes recognizing its contributions to the history of medicine and to the history of American culture.

Engerman, the author of two widely-regarded books and many articles, is recognized for his scholarship of the international and intellectual history of the Cold War, and 20th-century Russian and American history. His most recent book, “Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts,” was published by Oxford in 2011. His current research focuses on superpower aid competition in India during the Cold War, and has been funded by a highly competitive Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. He earned his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Leff Families Chair was established in 1965 by brothers Carl and Phillip Leff and their wives, Eleanor and Lillian, all of whom were vital contributors to Brandeis’ early growth and development. Professor Rudolph Binion, who died in 2011, was the only incumbent.

In 1968, Axel Springer, founder and owner of the German publishing company Axel Springer AG, created the Ottilie Springer Chair in memory of his mother. Past incumbents include professors Geoffrey Barraclough and Eugene C. Black.

Categories: General, Humanities and Social Sciences

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