Dr. Mitchel Gerber
“On your mark…get set…GO!” The air gun explodes, the crowd starts to cheer and hundreds of runners set foot on the long stretch of pavement that will eventually take them to the finish line. This is how Dr. Mitchel Gerber likes to spend his Saturday mornings.
As a passionate runner, Gerber trains by running 25 miles each week. He constantly searches for any chance to enter a race, ranging from one-mile races to half marathons, like the City of Roses race. Running is not the only passion Gerber has in his life. He also enjoys collecting rare books and keeping up with his favorite baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.
If Gerber isn’t collecting books, he is reading them. He likes to read Dr. George Sheehan’s Running and Being as a way to instruct and inspire not only his love for running, but how to also face the challenges one encounters in life. Gerber also expands on his academic endeavors about the Holocaust with Primo Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved, which investigates the dehumanization and depersonalization processes of the Holocaust and critically examines the ethical issues directly pertaining to genocide.
Gerber has taught in the Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religion at Southeast for 16 years, with courses ranging from ancient and medieval political philosophy to contemporary political thought. He also teaches an interdisciplinary upper-level course on the Holocaust. Gerber likes to focus his classroom lectures on the beauty of political philosophy, challenging his students to engage in intellectual curiosity and teaching them how to write through an analytical eye.
“Students sometimes refer to my teaching style as a ‘mind rush,’” Gerber explained. “I consistently challenge my students to comprehend the profound significance and intrinsic beauty of the complex and sophisticated thought of great thinkers in political philosophy.”
Gerber says he believes that students striving for excellence in their academic scholarship need to have both enthusiasm and expertise. He says this is something he took away from his professional mentors during his undergraduate academic experience.
Gerber received his bachelor of arts degree from Brooklyn College in 1973, going on to Columbia University to obtain his master of arts degree in 1975. After finishing at Columbia, Gerber attended New York University, receiving his doctorate in 1982. He says his time at Brooklyn College shaped his future in academia by unfolding a deep appreciation and incessant desire to gain greater insight into political philosophy and the provocative arguments and concepts of political thinkers like Aristotle, Locke and Rousseau.
This is the same zealous attitude Gerber brings to his students and how he approaches his academic scholarship. Those who take Gerber’s course on the Holocaust learn about areas that Gerber has extensively researched, including genocide studies, political ideology of Jewish members of the French resistance and the political philosophical models and interpretations that surround the Holocaust. Gerber also has researched 17th century English philosophy by classical thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and classical republican thought by the Framers,’ focusing on their articulation of the public good.
In his spare time, Gerber loves to return to the “the Big Apple” with his wife Barbara and son Yale to enjoy the museums, theatres, bookstores and restaurants the city has to offer. He also enjoys traveling to London, England, San Diego, Calif., and Cincinnati, Ohio, and cheer on his favorite sporting team, the Cincinnati Reds, to victory.
Gerber advises his students to be passionate about life, while pursuing and practicing persistence and enthusiasm. With these qualities, any challenge can be confronted and successfully overcome, he says.