European History: political culture in modern Central and Eastern Europe; intellectuals and dictatorship; Marxism
Dr. Scala received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MA and PhD from the University of Maryland-College Park. His dissertation, entitled Understanding the Class Enemy: Foreign Policy Expertise in East Germany, examines the inherent tension in East German foreign policy experts’ work between adherence to the party line on the one hand and accurate analysis of international relations on the other. As the process of professionalization and specialization progressed and as East German specialists gained more and more firsthand knowledge of people, events, and conditions in the capitalist West following East German foreign policy normalization in the first half of the 1970s, the GDR’s experts came to realize that the dogmatic precepts of official Marxism-Leninism were ill-suited to understand the complexities of the international relations they were charged with analyzing. The result was a partial break in 1980s with the prevailing party-imposed orthodoxy that significantly mirrored the development of the Soviet New Thinking in foreign policy which came to fruition in the Gorbachev era.
In addition to teaching at George Mason, Dr. Scala is intelligence historian at SAIC, where he works in support of the Department of Defense. Dr. Scala previously worked as an independent researcher in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Scala’s research interests include political culture in modern Central and Eastern Europe (primary focus: Germany; secondary foci: Poland and Russia); intellectuals and dictatorship; Marxism; Eastern European borderlands; memory; foreign policy/international history; transnationalism; intellectuals and modernity; violence; the Holocaust; and intelligence. His teaching interests include: Europe since the French Revolution; modern Germany; Poland and the Soviet Union; the Cold War; history of Communism; intellectual history and political culture; comparative and transnational history; international history of Europe; and Western civilization.
“Dobre,” “Łosice,” and “Sobolew” entries in United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, vol. 2, ed. Geoffrey Megargee (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, forthcoming).
“Egypt. Historical Perspectives: Egyptian-Israeli Relations, 1948-2011,” Defense Intelligence Digest (October 7, 2011): 6-9.
“Der kuriose Fall des Genossen Otto Becker. Oder: Warum die SED begann, ihren außenpolitischen Apparat zu professionalisieren,” [The Curious Case of Comrade Otto Becker, or: Why the SED Began to Professionalize its Foreign Policy Apparatus], Deutschland Archiv 06/2010 (December 2010): 1007-1016.
“Fostering a ‘Convergence with Reality’: East German Foreign Policy Experts’ Contacts with the West,” in Winter Kept Us Warm: Cold War Interactions Reconsidered, eds. Sari Autio-Sarasmo and Brendan Humphreys (Helsinki: Aleksanteri Cold War series, 2010), 107-125.