Robert Goodrich


Robert Goodrich

243 Gries Hall
(906) 227-2037


NMU Vienna Program

Prof Goodrich is the creator and leader of NMU's Vienna Program, a month-long summer course for NMU students in Central Europe. It is NMU's longest running and most popular study abroad program.  Click on the link above for more information.  The program is currently recruiting for May 2020.


B.A., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Dr. Goodrich's research interests lie in Modern Central European history with a broad, integrative approach to the various sub-fields. In particular, his research and teaching emphasize cultural and social history with an eye towards the interplay of various factors such as labor, gender, sexuality, and religion. However, the nature of his research into religion and identity also requires a comparative view of European and American experiences, reflected in his interest in transnational history. Perhaps at heart he is more of a generalist than a specialist.

Regardless of research interests, Dr. Goodrich places primary emphasis on the classroom experience, where he sees the cultivation of interdisciplinary-oriented, critical-thinking skills as the ultimate goal.  Here, an active, student-centered pedagogy drives his relationship to the learning process. Indeed, he has also found himself drawn towards innovative teaching methods, especially using elaborate role-play games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by primary sources. Class sessions are run entirely by students; Dr. Goodrich advises and guides students and grades their oral and written work. This approach seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills. In particular, he uses “Reacting to the Past”, a set of role-play scenarios that has been honored with the 2004 Theodore Hesburgh Award (TIAA-CREF) for outstanding innovation in higher education. He is also currently publishing a book in this genre on the final years of German democracy before the rise of Hitler.  NMU produced a video about Reacting to the Past in one of Dr. Goodrich's classes, which can be found here.

Dr. Goodrich also actively works to promote internationalization at NMU.  He has taken students to Spain, Peru, Greece, and, most regularly, to Austria. Indeed, largely due to his work in creating and sustaining the Vienna Program. Northern sends more students to Austria than to any other country – a unique statistic for an American university.

Selected Publications/Presentations

Democracy in Crisis: Germany, 1929-1932. A Reacting to the Past Game (New York: WW Norton, in production).

Austro-Hungarians in Michigan. (Lansing: Michigan State Press, in production).

“Austro-Marxism.” The International Encyclopedia of World Protest and Revolution: 1500 to the Present, ed. Immanuel Ness (London: Blackwell, 2008).

 “Bauer, Otto (1881-1938).” The International Encyclopedia of World Protest and Revolution: 1500 to the Present, ed. Immanuel Ness (London: Blackwell, 2008).

“Hilferding, Rudolph (1877-1941).” The International Encyclopedia of World Protest and Revolution: 1500 to the Present, ed. Immanuel Ness (London: Blackwell, 2008).

 “Honors Off-Campus: Internships, Cooperative Education, Clinical Experiences, and Study Abroad,” National Collegiate Honors Conference, 1 November 2007, Denver, CO.

"Catholicism and the Early German Cinema," German History: Journal of the Society of German History, forthcoming.

“Catholic Working-Class Masculinty in Wilhelmine Germany,” German Studies Association, 29 September - 1 October 2006, Pittsburgh, PA

"Confessional Drinking: Catholic Workingmen's Clubs and Alcohol Consumption in Wilhelmine Germany," in Histories of Leisure, ed. Rudy Koshar (London: Berg), 2002.

"Confessionalizing Catholic Home Space in Cologne during the Kaiserreich," German Studies Association, October 4-7, 2001, Washington DC.

"Considering the False Binaries of Center and Periphery applied to Region and Nation," Midwest German History Workshop, September 22-23, 2001, University of Illinois-Champagne-Urbana.

"Religion's Polysemous Historicity," Midwest German History Workshop, November 10-12, 2000, University of Wisconsin-Madison.