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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Faculty & Staff Directory

Carl Pletsch, PhD

Associate Professor of History

E-mail: Carl Pletsch
Office Location: King Center 523

Phone: 303-556-6158
Fax: 303-556-6037
Areas of Expertise:

  • ​​Intellectual History (European and American)
  • Modern Europe
  • Ancient Greece
  • Teaching
  • Leadership

  • Ph.D. Modern European History, University of Chicago, 1977.
  • M.A. European History, University of Chicago, 1970.

  • B.A. History and Philosophy, Brigham Young University, 1968.

Upon joining CU Denver in 1997, I worked in the Office of Teaching Effectiveness as Coordinator of Academic Technology and Co-organizer of Boot Camp for Professors.  I directed the $16,000,000 Information Technology Initiative that transformed all of the Auraria Campus classrooms into smart classrooms and built 25 computer classrooms.  I initiated the plan for the CU Denver Honors Program (University Honors and Leadership) and now serve on the steering committee of the Honors Program.

In the History Department at CU Denver, and in my faculty positions at other universities previously, I have taught Intellectual History (European and American).  Now I am limited to general European History.  I was the History Department’s director of graduate studies and served on the department’s executive committee.  

My research interests include the history of the idea of genius as exemplified by my book Young Nietzsche, Becoming a Genius

While teaching at Miami University in Oxford Ohio I served two terms as city councilman.

Prior to joining the History Department UCD I taught at several other universities, beginning as a Harper Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago.  I was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.  I held tenure track positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Miami University of Ohio.  I held a Mellon Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh.   I was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy.  I was interim Provost and Academic Vice President at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.  I spent my most recent sabbatical as visiting scholar at the Australian National University in Canberra.  


  • Beyond Preservation: Restoring and Inventing Landscapes, edited with Dwight Baldwin and Judith DeLuce.  Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
  • Young Nietzsche, Becoming a Genius.  New York: The Free Press  (Macmillan), 1991.
  • Introspection in Biography: Psychological Dimensions of the Biographic Process, edited with Samuel H. Baron.  Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1985.



  • Romantic Genius in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche,” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2013, 57-62.
  • “History this way and that: ‘I thought I knew it backwards and forward, but now I don’t know whether I’m coming or going!’” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2012, 51-57.
  • “Isaiah Berlin and his Contemporaries,” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2011. 155-164.
  • “Heroes and Leadership in the Iliad,” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2010.  313-318. 
  • “Grotius and the Crucible of Just War Theory,” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2009. 345-352. 
  • “Locke & Spinoza in Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment,” Proceedings of the International Society for the Study of Social Imagery, 2008.  211-236
  • “Akira Kurosawa’s Reflection on Becoming a Genius in Yume,” The Journal of Popular Film & Television.  Vol. 32, #4 (Winter, 2005). 192-199.
  • “Rehabilitating Myth, Carefully,” The European Legacy.  Vol. 9, #5 (2004), pp. 655-657.
  • “Class, Nationalism and Identity Politics.”  Peace Review.  Vol. 11, #2 (June, 1999), pp. 197-202.
  • “Nietzsche’s Striving.”  Nietzsche and Depth Psychology.  Albany, NY: State University Press of New York, 1999, pp. 331-341.
  • “`Civil Society’ and Rousseau’s Place in the Social Contract Tradition.”  The European Legacy, Vol. 1 (1996), pp. 322-328
  • "Introduction: Ecological Preservation versus Restoration," Beyond Preservation: Restoring and Inventing Landscapes, pp. 3-16
  • "Humans Assert Sovereignty over Nature."  Beyond Preservation, pp. 85-90.
  • "Conclusion: Constructing a new Ecological Paradigm," Beyond Preservation, pp. 260-265.
  • "Regimes of Nature," The Humanist, 53, #6 (1993), pp. 3-8.
  • "Textual Politics in Locke's Two Treatises of Government," in Gordon J. Schochet, ed., Restoration, Ideology, and Revolution.  Proceedings of the Folger Institute Center for the History of British Political Thought, Vol. 4.  (Washington, DC: The Folger Institute, 1990), pp. 105‑147.
  • "Freud's `Specimen Dream,'" Partisan Review, 54, #2 (1987), 305‑320.
  • "On the Autobiographical Life of Nietzsche," in Psychoanalytic Studies of Biography (New York: International Universities Press, 1987), 405‑434.
  • "Epilogue," Introspection in Biography, 1985.
  • "Returning to Nietzsche," Introspection in Biography, 1985.
  • "The Self‑Sufficient Text in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard," Yale French Studies, #66 (1984), 160‑188.
  • "Freud's Case Studies and the Locus of Psychoanalytic Knowledge," Dynamis, 2 (1982), 463‑497.
  • "The Three Worlds, or the Division of Social Scientific Labor, circa 1950‑1975," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 23 (1981), 565‑590.
  • "A Note on the Adaptation of the Psychoanalytic Method to the Study of Historical Personalities," The Psychohistory Review, 9 (1981), 46‑50.
  • "Freud's Case Histories," Partisan Review, 44, (1981), 101‑118.
  • "History and Innovation," with Richard Shiff, Critical Inquiry, 7 (1981), 634‑638.
  • "`The Socialist Nation of the German Democratic Republic,' or the Asymmetry in Nation and Ideology between the Two Germanies," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 21 (1979), 323‑345.
  • "GDR Research," New German Critique, #16 (1979), 157‑161.
  • "A Psychoanalytic Contribution to Method in Biography," with George Moraitis, The Psychohistory Review, 8 (1979), 72‑74.
  • "History and Friedrich Nietzsche's Philosophy of Time," History and Theory, 16 (1977), 30‑39.
  • Saeculum, Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte, 24 (1973), 41‑49.



  • HIST (History) 3481:  Ancient Greece
  • HIST (History) 4027:  Enlightenment and Revolution – a general European history course covering the late 17th and 18th Centuries
  • HIST (History) 4028:  Nations, Classes, and Individuals – a general European history course covering the 19th Century
  • HIST (History) 4032: World History and Globalization since 1945 – an undergraduate core course for majors and non-majors alike
  • UNHL (Honors) 3501:  Love and Death in the Ancient Greek Classics
  • UNHL (Honors) 3910:  Ideology and Revolution

​Prof. Pletsch is on sabbatical during the academic year 2013-2014 and not holding office hours this year.  You may contact him by email at​.