BA Cornell; MS CUNY City College; MA, PhD Brown


Dr. Adam J. Sacks is a lecturer on the history of Modern Europe. He recently obtained his PhD in History from Brown University. Before joining the staff of the Department, he worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University and at Bryn Mawr College, as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Moore College of Art and Design. Adam has previously served as a research fellow of the Leo Baeck Institute, the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Claims Conference. Adam publishes actively on historical matters and as a cultural journalist for popular audiences in a variety of outlets.

As an intellectual and cultural historian of Modern Europe and Russia, Adam’s focus is upon the relationship between aesthetics and political thought, and insists upon the arts as a vital dimension for understanding social engagement and historical meaning. The main period of his research is the crisis of liberalism in Central and East Europe from before the fin-de-siècle through the mid twentieth century. Adam probes cultural responses to persecution, debates around modernism, the emergence of post-liberal discourses, cultural production under duress, the overlooked activism of doctors and musicians, as well as new perspectives on how we understand health and illness and terror and resistance.


Adam has recently completed a short book on Parsifal,  as well as a long essay of cultural criticism on the Oberammergau Passion Play for the Edward Mellen Press. This project of close analysis of the last work of music drama of the German composer Richard Wagner engages the role of politics and religion in modern art and music. He has recently completed the consultation for and editing of a book of Dr. Lawrence Mass, entitled On the Future of Wagnerism: Art and Addiciton, Codependence and Recovery. An addiction specialist and pioneering AIDS activist, Dr. Mass’ fuses medical activism with art analysis, regimes of prejudice, antisemitism and mental health. Adam is currently completing a second short monograph on Wagner’s Ring cycle providing an analysis of conflicting schools of interpretation as well as the overlooked oeuvre of rival composers such as Meyerbeer. Finally, Adam is developing a biography of conductor/neurologist and Holocaust-era leader Kurt Singer, as well as smaller studies on Holocaust-era “salons” in Amsterdam and popular narratives of Jewish child martyr/fighters in the Russian-speaking world.

Research Interests

  • The Politics of Aesthetics
  • Modern Art and Music
  • The Holocaust and Genocide
  • Modern Spirituality and Consciousness Studies
  • Jewish, German and Russian Studies


Sacks, A. М. , Ковалева Н. А. “Социально-исторические аспекты культурной трансмиссии в русских национальных сообществах”, Актуальные проблемы исследования массового сознания: Материалы 6-й Международной научно – практической конференции. Отв. ред. В. В. Константинов. (Москва: Перо).

“Using Periodicals for Investigating Post-war Popular Culture of the 1960s-70s Rock/Counterculture Era.” Adam Matthew Digital: Research Methods for Primary Sources, 2021. Forthcoming, SAGE Publishing

“Berlin Eastern Station: Jewish Music Students Of East European Origin at the Berlin Music Conservatory, 1918-1933,” POLIN Yearbook.

Book Review, “Rachel Seelig: Strangers in Berlin,” Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature, Volume 42, Issue, 2.

“Wiedergutmachung and its Discontents,” Limes Plus, Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Year XII, No. 2.

On Ararat Alone No Ark Can Rest: Beyond Morgenthau: Jews, Social Democrats and Jewish Social Democrats: Alliances and Solidarity During the Armenian Genocide Epoch”, International Journal of Armenian Genocide Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 59-87.

“Migration et musique chorale.” In Berlin et les Juifs. Eds. Guillon et Knörzer. Editions de L’Eclat.

“Toward an Expansion of the Critique of the Mahler Revival,” New German Critique, Volume 40, Number 2.

“Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann Controversy as a Destabilizing Transatlantic Text,” AJS Review, Volume 37, Issue 1.

Click here to read more on Adam’s recent popular publications:

“A selection of ‘Hong Kong’ articles”, Classical Music Daily
The Porch Magazine“Passover” / “All You Need is Atonement” / “Parsifal”“Star Wars and Evil”
“Adolf Eichmann: Nazis In Popular Culture And The Trivialization Of Historical Knowledge”History Matters: History Brought Alive by the University of Sheffield
The Collector


  • CCHU9083 Spiritual, Not Religious: Technologies of the Soul
  • CCGL9055 Genocide: Nightmare from History
  • CCGL9066 Music and Global Politics: From Beethoven to Beyonce and Beyond
  • HIST2013 Modern Europe I, 1914-1945, the European Civil War
  • HIST2014 Modern Europe II, 1945-1991, Europe Divided and Undivided
  • HIST2021 19th Century Russia, 1800-1905
  • HIST2025 Hitler’s Germany
  • HIST2125 Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and the Jews
  • MUSI3038 Music and Global Politics: From Beethoven to Beyoncé