Rudy Koshar was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, a small, predominantly white town on the St. Joseph River just across from predominantly black Benton Harbor. No one who grows up in this area of southwestern Michigan could escape the sensation of a living in a world marked by deep social and racial conflict. He was an undergraduate at Michigan State University and a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, where he received a Ph.D. in European history. He taught at the University of Southern California from 1980 to 1991. Since then he has been on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the George L. Mosse/Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Professor of History, German & Religious Studies.
His nonfiction work includes four books, three edited volumes, and many articles and essays on modern European history and culture. Among his topics are: the social roots of Nazism; German memory cultures and historic buildings; the history of modern leisure and travel; the cultural history of the German car; film and memory; and German political theology. His most recent nonfiction publication is a co-edited volume (with Leonard Kaplan), The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology and Law (Lexington Books, 2012). He’s held research fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, German Academic Exchange Service, the Max Planck Institute for History in Göttingen, Germany, and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
In addition to teaching, his main activity in recent years has been writing fiction. His short stories have appeared in Black Heart Magazine, The Write Room, Turk’s Head Review, Revolution House, Gravel, Forge, Blinking Cursor, Eclectica, Sleetmagazine, Thunder Sandwich, and elsewhere. His “Fallen Magi” won second place in the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters 2013 Fiction Contest, and is published in Wisconsin People & Ideas (October 2013). Some of the stories draw on his knowledge of modern German history, but others deal with contemporary American culture. Among the authors he finds most interesting are J.M Coetzee, Per Petterson, Henning Mankell, Damon Galgut, Ian McEwan, Raymond Chandler, and Elmore Leonard.