LAWRENCE — Neal Pease will be the featured speaker of the spring 2014 Oswald P. Backus Memorial Lecture. The lecture, titled “Not a Stone Upon a Stone: The Demolition of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Warsaw,” will be 7 p.m. Monday, April 14, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. The lecture will focus on the controversial decision of the interwar Second Polish Republic to tear down a prominent Russian Orthodox cathedral that had been erected during the preceding period of Russian rule, raising issues of historical memory and the treatment of a distasteful past and its inherited public manifestations.
A University of Kansas alumnus, Neal Pease is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He specializes in the history of Poland and East Central Europe, particularly the role of the Catholic Church in 20th century Poland. He is editor-in-chief of The Polish Review and a past president and current officer of the Polish American Historical Association. His most recent book, “Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939” (Ohio, 2009) was named co-winner of the 2010 ASEEES Kulczycki Prize for the best book in the field of Polish studies and winner of the 2010 John Gilmary Shea Prize given by the American Catholic Historical Association for the best book in the field of Catholic history
This lecture is sponsored by the KU Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. It is made possible by a Title VI Department of Education National Resource Center grant and the Oswald P. Backus Memorial Fund.
The Backus Lecture is dedicated to the memory of Professor Oswald P. Backus III (1921-72). Backus was one of the early driving forces behind the development of KU as a nationally known center for the study of Russia and Eastern Europe. In the 1960s, these efforts led to the formation of the Slavic and Soviet Area Studies program, now known as the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. He also taught history, law, and Slavic and Soviet area studies during his 22 years at KU, and he is credited as having helped make KU’s Slavic library collection one of the finest in the nation. This fund is made available through a generous gift from an anonymous donor.
Pease also will present a lecture Tuesday, April 15, titled “Middle Age Couriers: How Medieval Polish Manuscripts turned up in Milwaukee, and How They Got Back Home to Poland.” This informal talk will be held as part of the CREES Brownbag lecture series, presented at noon Tuesdays in 318 Bailey.