History

The Muhlenberg Center for American Studies (MCAS) was founded on January 29, 2014 by the acting Managing Director Prof. Dr. Erik Redling and is based on the former Center for United States Studies (ZUSAS), which was carried over into the new center.

The name of the MCAS pays tribute to the Muhlenberg family that was shaped by the Franckeschen Stiftungen and the University of Halle and has become a multi-faceted family dynasty in the USA ever since Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg’s emigration in the 18th century.

Apart from Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg (1711–1777), who founded the free American Lutheran Church, other prominent members are his sons John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (1746–1807), who served as a General of the Continental Army under George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg (1750–1801), first speaker of the House of Representatives as well as Henry Ernest Muhlenberg (1753–1815), an internationally renowned botanist. Their dedication to the new country is exemplary and their name gives not only credit to the city of Halle (where all of them received their education), but it is also well-suited to the center’s interdisciplinary endeavour.

The Muhlenberg Center is a meeting place or hub for scholars, teachers, and students around the world that facilitates and creates cross-disciplinary links between fields and themes related to American Studies.