Keene State College is one of the only schools that allows its students to major in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The only other colleges in the United States that offer it are the University of Florida, St. Cloud State and Clark University. While the major is not common, it could certainly spark interest and curiosity. In fact, it makes KSC a destination for those interested in the study.
Senior Sam Brault, who’s majoring in Holocaust and genocide studies, said that’s why she came to KSC.
“The topic of the Holocaust has always fascinated me, and when I found out that they offered a Holocaust and Genocide major, it helped me make my decision,” Brault said.
The major itself expands to more than the Holocaust alone. Brault said, “It really teaches you a lot about interdisciplinary skills such as how to present research, and articulate and understand scholarly articles.”
The subject also has a masters option at other schools in Poland, where Brault also studied abroad and hopes to move to after a gap year.
The curriculum allows for the students to study at Jagiellonian University at its Centre for European Studies. There, she plans to continue her masters for genocide studies.
When asked what one could do with the degree, she explained how there are plenty of different avenues. Some go into law, specifically international, humanitarian or human rights; others can go from their masters to a Ph.D. and continue into education of the topic themselves. Additionally, some of the graduates move into jobs with the United Nations or even the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
More specifically, the main goal of the major is to help the students become aware of things that have happened, and can happen again.
Through education, showing how these atrocities happen, the goal is to educate people on how to avoid such tragedies.
It focuses on prevention and studies of events currently happening around the world today.
Brault has also been grateful for the faculty. “Being in a lecture with Dr. Waller is a great experience. To be learning from somebody who is known around the world about the subject is something that doesn’t happen too often,” Brault said.
Dr. Waller, who wasn’t able to respond to a request for an interview, wrote the book “Confronting Evil.”
The book analyzes different genocides from history as well as atrocities happening now.
His book, as stated in the review, was based on his travels and studies compiled over twenty years.
The Holocaust and genocide studies department held an informational event on Tuesday in the Mountain View Room, called “engaging students in the study of genocide,” which was open to the public.
It offered pamphlets as well as other readings about the subject as a whole. Additionally, there was also information about similar programs elsewhere, including graduate studies.
As it could be tough to understand what the degree could translate to post-graduation, the event was aimed to help those interested make an informed decision.
Upon reaching out to others at the Cohen Center, no professors were available at the time. The senior support assistant, Michele Kuiawa, was not able to answer questions at the time as well.
Lyle Bellamy can be contacted at