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Cynthia J. Paces

Professor of History

Modern European History

Columbia University (PhD, 1998)

Phone: 609-771-2742


Office: Social Sciences 213



I am a historian of modern Europe, with a specialty in East-Central Europe. I take an interdisciplinary approach to history, incorporating art, architecture, film, gender, religion, and medicine into my teaching and research.  Courses I regularly teach include European Social History, Women in Eastern Europe, Film and History in Eastern Europe, 1989—the end of the 20th century, and Modern Germany. I also lead the Holocaust and Genocide Study Tour, a 300-level travel course that examines the Holocaust as well as other genocides. My students and I have traveled together to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, and Armenia.

I have published two books and many articles. Prague Panoramas: National Memory and Sacred Space in the Twentieth Century investigates the relationship of public art to national politics in Czechoslovakia.  1989, The End of the Twentieth Century, gathered primary documents to help students understand the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tienanmen Square protests in China, and other remarkable events during that year of social movements.  For the last few years, I have been researching and writing about the history of public health and social medicine in Europe.

After serving as department chair for six years, I look forward to returning to more teaching and expanding my course offerings. I enjoy meeting with students about their interests and goals, so please come visit me during office hours.



  •  “A Window to the West: Czechoslovak Nationalism, American Progressivism, and interwar Public Health,” European Review of History (forthcoming January 2021).
  • “Commemorating Jan Hus, creating a Czechoslovak state: the 1915 Quincentenary,” in The Age of Anniversaries. The Cult of Commemoration, 1895-1925, T.G. Otte, ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.
  • “Czech Motherhood and Fin-de-Siècle Visual Culture,” in Gender in 20th-Century Eastern Europe and the USSR. Catherine Baker, ed., London: Palgrave2016.
  • “Fascism and Catholic Intellectuals in Czechoslovakia,” in Fascism and Catholicism in Europe, Jan Nelis, ed. Hildesheim, Zurich, and New York: Olms Publishing, 2014. 
  • Prague Panoramas. National Memory and Sacred Space in the Twentieth Century. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2009.
  • 1989. End of the Twentieth Century. W. W. Norton, 2009.
  • “The Battle for Prague’s Old Town Square: Symbolic Space and the Birth of the Republic,” in Blair Ruble and John Czaplicka, eds. Composing Urban History and the Constitution of Civic Identities . Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, pp. 165-191.
  • “Gender and the Battle for Prague’s Old Town Square” in Elena Gapova, editor, Gendernye istorii Vostochnoi Evropy , (Gendered (Hi)stories from Eastern Europe). Minsk, Belarus: European Humanities University, Press, 2002, pp. 124-131.
  • “The Fall and Rise of Prague’s Marian Column,” Radical History Review 79 (Winter 2001), pp. 141-155.
  • “Religious Heroes for a Secular State: Commemorating Jan Hus and Saint Wenceslas in 1920s Czechoslovakia,” in Nancy Wingfield and Maria Bucur, eds., Staging the Past: Commemorations in the Habsburg Lands , Purdue Univ. Press (2001), pp. 199-225.
  • “‘The Czech Nation Must be Catholic!’: An Alternative Version of Czech Nationalism During the First Republic,” Nationalities Papers 27 (1999)
  • “Unveiling the Past: Recent Literature on National Memory in the Czech Republic,” Nationalities Papers 25 (1997)