Director

Thomas Pegelow KaplanDr. Thomas Pegelow Kaplan

Dr. Pegelow Kaplan is a graduate of Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen (Germany) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was most recently an Associate Professor of Modern European History at Davidson College, where he specialized in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Dr. Kaplan's research focuses on histories of violence, language, and culture of Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe and the 1960s global youth revolts. His broader project is a linguistic history of comparative genocide in the modern world. He is the author of The Language of Nazi Genocide: Linguistic Violence and the Struggle of Germans of Jewish Ancestry (Cambridge University Press), which explores how words preceded, accompanied, and made mass murder possible. This study explains how Nazi perpetrators constructed difference, race, and their perceived enemies; how state and Party agencies communicated to the public through the nation's press; and how Germans of Jewish ancestry received, contested, and struggled for survival and self against remarkable odds.

Dr. Pegelow Kaplan is currently working on a study of trans-European Jewish petitioning practices during the Holocaust. Throughout German-controlled Europe, tens of thousands of Jewish community officials, ordinary members, Jewish converts to Christianity, and other men and women of partial Jewish heritage submitted entreaties to redress grievances and request support, for example, for an exemption from pending deportations. They approached ministerial bureaucracies in the capitals, regional administrative agencies, heads of state, leaders of ruling fascist parties, and even the Christian Churches. His work demonstrates how Jewish communities and families established widespread transnational networks that critically informed their petitions and played a crucial role in the petitioners' struggle for survival. In addition, Dr. Pegelow Kaplan is completing a book on the interactions between leftist protest movements in West Germany and the United States from the 1950s until the early 1980s, their changing imageries of past and current mass crimes, and their impact on national and transnational memory cultures.

In recent years, Dr. Pegelow Kaplan has been a visiting faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, and a visiting research fellow at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University, the German Historical Institute (DHI), Washington, D.C., the Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) in Potsdam, Germany, and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.

As an ardent supporter of transatlantic scholarly exchanges, Dr. Pegelow Kaplan has been active in a number of American and German professional organizations and networks. Most recently, he has co-organized the Seventh and Eighth Annual Southeast German Studies Consortium Workshops that focused on war, genocide, and Black German Studies. These workshops brought together American and German Germanists from Alabama to Rhode Island in the Charlotte area. He has also taken students on research excursions to archives, research centers, and genocide memorials in the United States, Germany, and Poland and is in the process of working on similar research and travel endeavors at ASU. At Appalachian State University, Dr. Pegelow Kaplan is offering classes on the Holocaust, comparative genocide in the twentieth century, and modern German and European-Jewish histories.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)