Department of History

Michael P. Steinberg

Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History and Music, Professor of German Studies
Sharpe House 215
Areas of Expertise Europe - Modern
Office Hours On leave in 2023-24. Available by appointment via email.


Michael P. Steinberg is the Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History, and Professor of Music and German Studies. From 2016 to 2018 he served as president of the American Academy in Berlin. At Brown he served as the founding director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities (2005-2015) and as Vice Provost for the Arts (2015-16).

His books include The Trouble with Wagner (Chicago, 2018) as well as the edited volume Makers of Jewish Modernity (Princeton, 2016; winner of the National Jewish Book Award for non-fiction); Listening to Reason: Culture, Music, and Subjectivity in 19th-Century Music (Princeton, 2004), and The Meaning of the Salzburg Festival (Cornell, 2000), of which the German edition (Ursprung und Ideologie der Salzburger Festspiele; Anton Pustet Verlag, 2000) won Austria's Victor Adler Staatspreis in 2001.

Educated at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he has been a visiting professor at these two schools as well as at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and National Tsing-hua University in Taiwan. He was a member of the Cornell University Department of History between 1988 and 2005; a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin in 2003 and at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2015-16. He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowmment for the Humanities. Between 2009 and 2013 he served as dramaturg on a co-production of Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung at the Berlin State Opera and the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.