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Robert Goeckel

Professor of Political Science And International Relations
Fraser 107a
Robert Goeckel

Robert Goeckel has been a member of the Geneseo faculty since 1982.

Dr. Goeckel teaches International and Comparative Politics in the Department. He is a specialist on European politics, particularly politics in Germany, eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. His research has dealt largely with the relationship between church and state, as well as the role of religion and politics, particularly during the Communist period. Fluent in German and Russian, Dr. Goeckel has lived for extended periods in Berlin and Moscow while doing research on the German Democratic Republic and Soviet Union. Dr. Goeckel served as director of the Center for the Study of Russia and the US of SUNY/Moscow State University in 2000-2001. Building on this, he has twice led students on a study abroad program to Moscow (2004, 2006, 2008). In the Department Dr. Goeckel has advised the Model UN Club, served as coordinator of the major in International Relations, and facilitated the development of dual degree programs with UDLA in Mexico, Haceteppe University in Turkey, and Moscow State University in Russia.

Office Hours

  • Tues/Thurs: 11:15 - 12:55 
  • and by appointment

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D: Harvard University, Government

  • MPP: The University of Michigan, Public Policy

  • A.B.: The University of Michigan, Political Science w/ High Honors


  • The Relations between State and Church in the GDR: Ten Years of Anglo-American Studies, Staat und Kirchen in der DDR. Zum Stand der zeithistorischen und sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung, Horst Daehn and Joachim Heise, eds., Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt/M and Berlin, 2003

  • American Church Advocacy of Religious Rights in East Germany: The Legacy of the Past for the Present, Protecting the Human Rights of Religious Minorities in Eastern Europe, ed. Peter Danchin and Elizabeth Cole, NY: Columbia University Press, 2002

  • US-German Church Relations, 1968-1990, Germany and the US in the Era of the Cold War, 1945-1990, ed. Detlef Juncker, NY and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004

  • The Baltic Churches and the Liberalization Process, The Politics of Religion in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, ed. Michael Bourdeaux, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995

  • The Lutheran Church and the East German State: Political Conflict and Change under Ulbricht and Honecker, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990

  • The Luther Anniversary in East Germany, World Politics v. 37, n. 1 (October 1984)

Professional Awards and Activities

  • Fulbright Research Fellowship, Moscow, 2000-2001

  • Fulbright Research Fellowship, Berlin, 1995-1996

  • Hoover Institution, Visiting Scholar Post-Doctoral (Title Viii) Scholar, 1992-1993

  • International Research and Exchanges Board, USSR Long-Term Exchange (1990-1991)

  • Developmental Fellowship for Russian Language Acquisition (1985-86), and GDR Program Fellowship (1979)

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising, SUNY Geneseo, 1990

  • Chancellor’s Award for Internationalization, 2004

  • Member, Advisory Board, Center for the Study of Russia and the US, SUNY/Moscow State University, 2003-present

  • Member, Study Group, “Christians, State and Society in the GDR,” Science Center North Rhine-Westphalia, MinisterPresident Johannes Rau, Chair, 1992-1995

More About Me

Research Interests

The relationship between church and state, as well as the role of religion and politics, particularly during the Communist period.


  • International and Comparative Politics
  • European politics


  • PLSC 358: Politics of Eastern Europe

    A comparative examination of the establishment and development of the former Communist systems in East Central Europe, including the revolutions which brought political change to these regimes. Topics considered include changes in the role of the Communist party and bureaucracy, the economic problems associated with marketization, issues of nationalism and political fragmentation, and the international context of democratization.

  • PLSC 422: Germany from Nazis to Present

    This course will explore the origins, history, and legacy of Nazi Germany, the development of domestic and foreign policies of the two Germanies during the Cold War, and the causes and process of the East German revolution in 1989. Based on this background, the course will address and analyze various policy problems--political, social, economic, and foreign-facing contemporary Germany. Major debates about Germany, such as the reasons for the Nazi seizure of power, responsibility for the Holocaust, themes of continuity and change, coming to terms with the past, and comparisons and relations with the U.S. will highlight the course.

  • PLSC 429: Politics of Russia & Eurasia

    A survey of political, economic, and social change in the former Soviet Union as a world superpower of major significance to the United States. Attention is paid to the historical, cultural, ideological, and political inheritance of the former Soviet system, focusing on the reform process.