European Studies Logo

Robert H. Abzug

ProfessorPh.D., History, 1977, University of California, Berkeley

Robert H. Abzug


  • Phone: 512-475-7240
  • Office: GAR 2.108
  • Office Hours: On Leave- Fall '09
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000


He taught at Berkeley and UCLA before coming to Texas in 1978. He held the Eric Voegelin Visiting Professorship at the University of Munich, 1990-91. He is also a former chair of American Studies (1990-96) and founding Director of Liberal Arts Honors Programs at Texas (1996-2002)

Research interests

Professor Abzug's scholarship explores the formation of social and moral consciousness in American culture. He has worked in three major fields: social reform and religious life in antebellum America, America and the Holocaust, and, most recently, the interpenetration of religion and psychology in modern American culture. His research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and numerous other foundations.

He is in the final stages of preparing a biography of the American psychologist, Rollo May. In addition, he has published  a new edition for classroom use of William James's Varieties of Religious Experience (2012). He is currently doing research on Jews and other minorities in the state of Montana and will be producing a volume for University of Texas Press’s Texas Bookshelf on insiders and outsiders and the creation of the Texas myth. He also edits a book series for UT Press, Exploring Jewish Arts and Culture..

Courses taught

Professor Abzug regularly teaches courses on Antebellum America, Religion and Psychology in American Culture, America and the Holocaust and, together with Professor Steven Hoelscher, a course on Photography in American Culture.


Abzug, R. (2005, September) Abolition and Religion. History Now: American History Online.

Abzug, R. & Wetzel, J. (2005) Befreiung. In W. Benz & B. Distel (Eds.), Gesamtgeschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager (pp.313-328). Munchen: Verlag C.H. Beck.

Abzug, R. (2003, April) Rollo May: Philosopher as Therapist. AHP Perspective.

Abzug, R. (1999) America Views the Holocaust, 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press.

Abzug, R. (1999, September) The Deconversion of Rollo May. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 24.

Abzug, R. (1996) Love and Will: Rollo May and the Seventies' Crisis of Intimacy. In E. Hurrup (Ed.), The Lost Decade: America in the Seventies (pp.79-88). Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press.

Abzug, R. (1994) Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination. Oxford University Press.

Abzug, R. (1985) Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps. Oxford University Press.

Abzug, R. (1980) Passionate Liberator: Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform. Oxford University Press.

Abzug, R. (2006, December) Review of The Stranger's Religion: Fascination and Fear. Journal of Church and State 48(1), 209-210.

Abzug, R. (2006, September) Borrowing Time.

Abzug, R. (2006, April) Review of Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States. Journal of Religion 86(2), 322-323.

Abzug, R. (2005, December) Film Review of Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust. Journal of American History, 1099-1100.

Abzug, R. (2004, September) A Modest Proposal. Insights: The Faculty Journal of the Austin Presbyterian Seminary.

Abzug, R. (2002, July) Review of Elie Wiesel and the Politics of Moral Leadership. The Christian Century, 40-41.

Abzug, R. (2000, April) Review of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry. Austin American-Statesman.

Abzug, R. (1999, September) Theodore Dwight Weld. Oxford University Press, 22, 928-999.

Abzug, R. (1998, September) Review of The Romance of American Psychology. Journal of American History 85(2), 738-739.

Abzug, R. (1998, June) Review of A Cautious Patriotism: The American Churches and the Second World War. American Historical Review 103(3), 994-995.

Abzug, R. (1997, August) Review of American Reform and Reformers: A biographical dictionary. journal of southern history 63(3), 705-707.

Abzug, R. (1997, March) Review of The Politics of Reason and Revolution: Religion and Civic Life in the New Nation. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 188-189.

Abzug, R. (1997, March) Review of Sheltering the Jews: Stories of Holocaust Rescuers. Church History 66(1).

Abzug, R. (1997, January) Misery Loves Therapy, Review of On the Couch: Great American Stories About Therapy. Austin American-Statesman.

Abzug, R. (1996, December) Review of Moralists and Modernizers. Church History 65(4), 732-733.

Abzug, R. (1996, October) Review of Jonathan Edwards: Religious Tradition and American Culture. William & Mary Quarterly 53(4), 815-817.

Abzug, R. (1996, September) Rollo May, Paul Tillich and Existential Psychotherapy in America. Existential Analysis, 7(1).

Abzug, R. (1996, July) Review of Freedom's Champion: Elijah Lovejoy. Church History 65(2), 289-291.

Abzug, R. (1996, April) Review of The Abolitionist Sisterhood: Women's Political Culture in Antebellum America. American Historical Review 101(2).

Abzug, R. (1996, March) Rollo May as Friend to Man. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 36(2), 17-22.

Abzug, R. (1995, September) American Studies at the University of Texas. Craft: The Newsletter of the CTI (Computer Technology Initiative) for History, Archaeology, and Art History, 10-11.



America Views the Holocaust, 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999 (hc and pb).

Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination (Oxford University Press, March 1994; Oxford Paperback, September 1994).

Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps (Oxford University Press, 1985; Oxford Paperback, 1987).

Passionate Liberator: Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform (Oxford University Press, 1980; Oxford Galaxy Paperback, 1982.

Co-editor with Stephen E. Maizlish, New Perspectives on Race and Slavery in America: Essays in Honor of Kenneth M. Stampp (University of Kentucky Press, 1986.).


"The Transatlantic Dialogue in Religion and Psychology: Paul Tillich, Erich Fromm, Rollo May and the Reformulation of Personal Meaning, 1934-1960," in Jurgen Gebhardt, Political Cultures and the Cultures of Politics: A Transatlantic Perspective (Heidelberg: Universitatsverlag Winter, 2010).

Abolition and Religion,” online article commissioned by web magazine, History Now: American History Online, publication of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, September 2005

“Befreiung,” in Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel, Gesamtgeschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager (München: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2005) 313- 328. Based on new as well as earlier research, especially in regard to reactions to the liberations, and co-authored in part with a young German historian Juliane Wetzel, who integrated the latest German scholarship in the field.

“A Modest Proposal,” in Insights: The Faculty Journal of the Austin Presbyterian Seminary (Fall 2004). (Interpretive piece on the place of religion in American politics).

“Rollo May: Philosopher as Therapist,” AHP [Association for Humanistic Psychology] Perspective (April/May 2003).

"The Deconversion of Rollo May," Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, XXIV (Special Issue, Nos. 1-3), Fall 1999.

“Rollo May, Paul Tillich and Existential Psychotherapy in America,” Existential Analysis 7.1 (1996) (Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, London).

"Love and Will: Rollo May and the Seventies' Crisis of Intimacy," in Elsebeth Hurrup, ed., The Lost Decade: America in the Seventies (Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1996), 79-88.

"Rollo May as 'Friend to Man'," Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Spring 1996), 17-22.

"The Liberation of the Concentration and Death Camps: Understanding and Using History," Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies 9:1 (Spring 1995), 3-8.

"The Liberation of the Concentration Camps," Liberation 1945, Exhibition Catalogue for exhibit of the same name at U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC (May 1995), 33-46.

"America and the Holocaust," Discovery, XI V: 2 (Spring 1995), 52-57.

"Facing Survivors in Fiction and Film," Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual V (1988), 241-53.

"Foreword" to Frieda Frome, Some Dare to Dream: Frieda Frome's Escape from Lithuania (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1988).

"Introduction" to Brewster Chamberlain and Marcia Feldman, eds. The Liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps 1945: Eyewitness Accounts of the Liberators (Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 1987).

"Invisible Victims: European Jews in the American Consciousness, 1940-1946," Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies (Fall 1986).

"The Black Family during Reconstruction," in Huggins, Kilson, Fox, eds. Key Issues in the Afro-American Experience II (Harcourt Brace, 1971), 26-41.

"The Copperheads: Historical Approaches to Civil War Dissent in the Midwest," Indiana Magazine of History, March 1970, 40-55.

"The Influence of Garrisonian Abolitionists' Fears of Slave Violence on the Antislavery Argument, 1829-1840," Journal of Negro History, January 1970, 15-28.



Borrowing Time, Historical Consultant and Advisor for film by David Haspel and Robert Black, concerning the life of Henri Landwirth, Holocaust survivor and philanthropist. Finished and released 2006. Listed in Main Credits as Chief Historical Consultant

Nightmare’s End: The Liberation of the Camps, Chief Consultant and script editing on film by Rex Bloomstein, made for Channel 4 England, and premiered in America on the Discovery Channel, April 23, 1995.

  • Center for European Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st Street
    Austin, Texas 78712