Keene State College announces the appointment of a new director of its Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Dr. Kate DeConinck, a trained religious anthropologist with expertise in religion in the aftermath of mass tragedies, officially takes office in July, college provost James Beeby announced in a recent email to the community. university.
DeConinck replaces Peter McBride, who left Keene State to return to his native Ireland. Hank Knight held the position from 2007 until his retirement in 2019.
The Center, through its educational outreach coordinator, offers workshops for teachers and students, as well as administrators, law enforcement and others, said Celia Rabinowitz, dean of the Mason Library and Acting Director of the Cohen Center. On campus, she said, the Center collaborates with other departments and offices to help foster dialogue on issues of discrimination, the legacy of the Holocaust and genocide awareness. This work is also focused on the wider community, she said.
“Dr. DeConinck impressed everyone when she visited campus late last year and I am thrilled to welcome Kate this summer and work with her for years to come,” Beeby said.
DeConinck comes to Keene State from the University of San Diego, where she has worked for the past six years, offering courses on the Holocaust and related topics through the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. She served as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Religious Education Unit and co-director of the university’s Urgent Challenges Collective, an initiative that supports research, teaching, and advocacy on the issue of religion. homelessness, Beeby said.
“I believe Kate brings the skills needed as a servant leader who will work well with all constituency groups on campus, throughout the community, and even across the region and state to make the world a better place,” Beeby said.
Beeby added: “She is exactly what we need at this point. I am thrilled to be working with Kate to move the College forward and do a good job for the betterment of society. This is a wonderful hire for us. and an incredible opportunity for Dr. Kate DeConinck.
From 2007 to 2010, DeConinck worked as a research associate for the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, and she later earned her doctorate in religion and society at Harvard in 2015.
The Pluralism Project, according to its website, studies and interprets the changing religious landscape of the United States. His field research on religious diversity and interfaith relations informs the development of key educational resources.
Between 2011 and 2014, DeConinck conducted ethnographic fieldwork at 9/11 commemoration sites in New York City, spending time at local museums, religious places of worship, and memorial ceremonies. His first major study shed light on the meanings of storytelling, walking, and commemoration for 9/11 Tribute Center guides.
DeConinck said she was excited to join the KSC community in this role because she believes “this is a pivotal time to engage members of campus and the community in a dialogue about the motivations that drive hate and genocide, the realities of anti-Semitism today, and the importance of responsible citizenship.
She said she believed in the power of democratic collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders to create lasting change.