Wayne State University

Wayne State University professor receives prestigious award from American Institute for Contemporary German Studies

DETROIT — Andrew I. Port, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Wayne State University, has received the prestigious DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies from the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Port received the award for his outstanding work in the field of the humanities.

Port’s book, Conflict and Stability in the German Democratic Republic, offers a careful analysis of life at the grass roots of East Germany. Addressing the puzzling 40-year stability of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), he shows how communist officials maintained domestic peace through negotiation and compromise with those under their charge. At the same time, Port demonstrates how social frictions, caused by the privileging of certain groups, hindered potentially destabilizing challenges to the regime by undercutting solidarity among ordinary East Germans.

“Instead of taking the usual approach of looking at the history of the German Democratic Republic, Dr. Port’s book takes an alternative look at the collapse of the socialist state; it grapples with the puzzle of regime stability and how the German Democratic Republic lasted for so long despite widespread social, political and economic discontent and conflict at the grass roots,” said Marc Kruman, Ph.D., chair of history at Wayne State University.

Port is currently the review editor of the German Studies Review, and will begin serving in 2014 as the editor of the journal Central European History. His research focuses on modern Germany and Europe, communism and state socialism, social protest, popular resistance under autocratic regimes, and comparative genocide. He is currently writing What Germans Talk about When They Talk about Genocide, a book that will explore German reactions to genocide in other parts of the world since 1945, with a special focus on Cambodia, Rwanda and the Balkans.

“The DAAD Prize aims to foster a new generation of American scholarship on Germany and encourage innovative contributions to the interdisciplinary scope of German studies,” said Kruman. “Dr. Port’s dedication to his field makes him most deserving of this prestigious award.” 

Port’s book is currently available for purchase online at http://www.amazon.com/Conflict-Stability-German-Democratic-Republic/dp/0521744172.


Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.