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KSC Names Cohen Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Dr. James E. Waller
Dr. James E. Waller

KEENE, N.H., 3/26/10 - Dr. James E. Waller has been named Cohen Chair for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. The College’s first endowed professorship, the Cohen Chair is funded by a generous gift from Jan and Richard Cohen.

Professor Waller will play a significant role in Keene State College’s new baccalaureate program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which offers key courses in Holocaust Studies as well as courses in genocide and comparative genocide. He has held fellowships with the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C., and is currently an affiliated scholar at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. Dr. Waller will join the KSC faculty for the fall 2010 semester.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Cohen family, and the leadership of administration and faculty at KSC, the College is positioned to help generations of students reflect on the moral, political, and social implications of the Holocaust and other episodes of genocidal violence,” said Professor Waller. “Moreover, this reflection will be a call to action in the face of continued threats of genocide around the world, and I am honored to have this unique opportunity to contribute to that important work. My family and I look forwarding to joining the Keene community.”

Dr. Waller earned his Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Kentucky and was professor of psychology at Whitworth University from 1989, holding the rotating Edward B. Lindaman Chair during 2003-07. He received the university’s award for Outstanding Junior Faculty Achievement in Teaching and Research in 1993 and the Teaching Excellence Award in 1996. During 1999-2000, Waller was one of sixteen national recipients of the prestigious Pew Fellowship Award to continue his work on the psychology of human evil. In June 2007, he received the First Voice Humanitarian Award from the Chicago Center for Urban Life & Culture in recognition of his work in connecting students with urban communities, particularly communities in need.

Waller’s book, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, is a standard text for students of genocide throughout the United States. He is widely recognized for his work on intergroup relations and prejudice, and in 1996 developed an innovative study program titled “Prejudice Across America.” The program drew national media attention and was named by President Clinton’s Initiative on Race as one of America’s “Promising Practices for Racial Reconciliation.” Many of the experiences from the study program are chronicled in Dr. Waller’s first book, Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism Across America; and in a second book, Prejudice Across America.

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