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Contact Information

Academic School

School of Liberal Arts


Fontaine 307



(845) 575-3000 ext. 2444

Michael E. O'Sullivan

Professor of History


Dr. O’Sullivan arrived at Marist in 2007 to teach modern European history. His primary area of research includes the religious history of twentieth-century Germany. His first book, Disruptive Power: Catholic Miracles, Women, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965, won the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize. His latest book project is an examination of sex and gender within Germany’s influential Catholic minority from the Weimar Republic to the 1960s. The book will explore how women sought autonomy within a patriarchal church; how masculine ideals in the Catholic subculture evolved during the world wars; and how Christian political elites and congregations reacted to Vatican encyclicals about reproductive rights in 1930 and 1968. Dr. O’Sullivan teaches very broadly, including classes about the French Revolution, Russia/Eastern Europe, the Holocaust, modern Germany, and modern Europe. These classes explore political history, as well as the importance of race, class, gender, environment, and migration to the creation of contemporary Europe. He contributes to the College’s First Year Seminar Program and the Honors Program. He also has an interest in incorporating civic engagement into teaching, especially regarding migration and the sustenance of democratic cultures. He is active in the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance.


PhD, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
MA, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
BA, Canisius College

Research Interests / Areas of Focus

Modern European History, Modern Germany, The Holocaust, Religious History, Sexuality, Migration

Selected Publications


Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965 (University of Toronto Press, 2018), winner of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize.

Articles and Book Chapters

“Religion, Modernity, and Democracy in Central Europe: Toward a Gendered History of Twentieth-Century Catholicism,” Central European History 52:4 (December 2019): 713-730.

“A ‘Shattered’ Religious Past: Rethinking the Master Narratives of Twentieth-Century German Christianity,” co-authored with Benjamin Pearson, in Modern Germany in Transatlantic Perspective, Adam Seipp and Michael Meng, Eds., (Berghahn Books, 2017), 177-199.

“Disruptive Potential: Therese Neumann from Konnersreuth, National Socialism, and Democracy,” in Revisiting the Nazi Occult: Histories, Realities, Legacies, Monica Black and Eric Kurlander, Eds., (Camden House, 2015), 181-201.

“Resistenz,Verweigerung und Kapitulation. Frauen, Jugend und das NS-Regime im Rheinland und in Westfalen, 1928-1945” in Die Grenzen des Milieus. Vergleichende Analysen zu Stabilität und Gefährdung katholischer Milieus in der Endphase der Weimarer Republik und in der NS-Zeit, Joachim Kuropka, Ed., (Aschendorff, 2012), 215-238.

 “A Feminized Church? German Catholic Women and Domestic Piety, 1918-1945,” in Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe: Beyond the Feminization Thesis, Jan Art, Patrick Pasture, and Thomas Buerman Eds., (University of Leuven Press/ Cornell University Press, 2012), 190-211.

“West German Miracles: Catholic Mystics, Church Hierarchy, and Postwar Popular Culture,” Zeithistorische Forschungen/ Studies in Contemporary History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2009): 11-34.

“From Catholic Milieu to Lived Religion: The Social and Cultural History of Modern German Catholicism,” History Compass, Vol. 7, No. 3 (2009): 837-861

“German Democratic Republic Protests,” in International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to Present Immanuel Ness, Ed., (Blackwell Publishing, 2009), 1337-1346

“An Eroding Milieu? Catholic Youth, Church Authority, and Popular Behavior in Northwest Germany during the Third Reich, 1933-1938,” Catholic Historical Review, Vol. XC, No. 2 (April 2004): 236-259

Selected Presentations

Presentations delivered at German Studies Association, American Historical Association, the German Historical Institute, the European Section of the Southern Historical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the University of Vechta, the University of Cologne, the University of Leuven, Cambridge University, the New York State Association for European Historians, and the Bienniel Conference on the History of Religion at Boston College

Lectures Delivered at Marist College for the Center for Lifetime Studies, the Catholic Studies Program, and the Big Rea

Awards and Honors

Dr. Richard M. Hunt Fellowship for the Study of German History, Politics, Society, and Culture from the American Council on Germany, 2013

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Dissertation Fellowship, Germany, 2003-2004

Fulbright Research Fellowship, Germany, 1999-2000

Media Links

Co-Host of New Books in German Studies, a Channel in the New Books Network of Podcasts