Ohio Wesleyan University will hold its inaugural Robert Kragalott Lecture on Genocide, Mass Atrocity, and Human Rights on Wednesday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center in Delaware, Ohio.
The newly endowed lecture series honors the memory of Kragalott, Ph.D., a 27-year Ohio Wesleyan professor of modern European history. The free presentation will feature Timothy Snyder, the Housum Professor of History at Yale University, discussing “Global Holocaust: An Attempt at Explanation.”
Snyder has written five award-winning books including 2010’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which examines Nazi and Soviet mass killing on the lands between Berlin and Moscow. The book earned the Leipzig Prize for European Understanding as well as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award in the Humanities. It has been translated into more than 20 languages and has achieved bestseller status in four countries.
According to the New York Review of Books, Bloodlands is “a brave and original history of mass killing in the twentieth century. … Snyder’s original contribution is to treat all of these episodes – the Ukrainian famine, the Holocaust, Stalin’s mass executions, the planned starvation of Soviet POWs, postwar ethnic cleansing – as different facets of the same phenomenon.”
Ohio Wesleyan’s new Kragalott Lecture was endowed with a monetary gift by 1969 university graduate Carroll P. “Pete” Kakel III, Ph.D., a research historian and lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University Center for Liberal Arts. A history major at Ohio Wesleyan, Kakel later earned his master’s degree in Holocaust studies (with distinction) and his doctorate in modern history from Royal Holloway College, University of London. Kakel’s first book, “The American West and the Nazi East: A Comparative and Interpretive Perspective,” was published in 2011.
His gift honors the career and contributions of Robert Kragalott, an Ohio Wesleyan faculty member from 1964 to 1991. Kragalott’s scholarly interests included Russian and Yugoslavian history, and he researched and published on the Treaty of Versailles. In 1967, Kragalott helped to found the Ohio Wesleyan Forum, a precursor of the university’s Sagan National Colloquium, which annually examines in-depth an issue of global significance.
“As an OWU undergraduate,” Kakel recalled, “Robert Kragalott inspired in me a love for history and historical inquiry. As someone who had lived and studied abroad, Dr. Kragalott had a global perspective, and he emphasized the importance of empathy in developing an understanding of other peoples, cultures, and histories – in the past and present.
“It is my sincere hope,” Kakel concluded, “that the Kragalott lectures will encourage audiences to engage with past and, sadly, recurring global issues of genocide, mass atrocity, and human rights.”
The endowment will support a biennial lecture on these important issues. In years when lectures are not held, the endowment will support a student independent research project supervised by a faculty member in Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of History.
Hamilton-Williams Campus Center is located at 40 Rowland Avenue in historic downtown Delaware, Ohio.