A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History; Professor of International & Area Studies, MacMillan Center; Founding Director of the Genocide Studies Program (1994-2015); Chair, Council on Southeast Asia Studies (2010-15)
Professor Kiernan obtained his Ph.D. from Monash University, Australia, in 1983. He is the author of Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (2007), which won the 2008 gold medal for the best work of history awarded by the Independent Publishers association, and the U.S. German Studies Association’s 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize for the best book published in 2007-2008 dealing with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in its broadest context, covering the fields of history, political science, and other social sciences, literature, art, and photography. In June 2009, the book’s German translation, Erde und Blut: Völkermord und Vernichtung von der Antike bis heute, won first place in Germany’s Nonfiction Book of the Month Prize Die Sachbücher des Monats, sponsored by Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR Kultur. Kiernan’s work is featured in Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide (2011) and in Southeast Asia: Essential Readings (2006, 2013). His other awards include the Critical Asian Studies Prize for 2002, and an Honourable Mention in the “One of a Kind” category of the Canadian National Magazine Awards, for his 2006 co-authored article “Bombs over Cambodia.” Kiernan was also the recipient of the 2018 Inspiring Yale Award for the Yale School of Graduate Studies – Humanities, “for being an inspiration to the Yale University student body in and out of the class room.” Graduate students in the Humanities selected him for the award, presented at the 4th annual Inspiring Yale event on April 11, 2018. Kiernan was the subject of an extensive feature article in the “Ideas” section of the Paris daily Le Monde, published on September 1, 2018, under the heading, “Le Cambodge dans la peau” (Cambodia under his skin). He has been appointed the inaugural Visiting Chair in Transregional Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the Institute of Advanced Studies at Aix-Marseille University, France (2019-2020).
His most recent book is Việt Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present (2017), which was selected for “Review of the Month” in the Australian Book Review in June-July 2017. Foreign Affairs described the book as “pathbreaking not only in its chronological scope (from prehistory to the present) and the breadth of its sources but also in its thematic reach.” London’s Times Literary Supplement called it “excellent… Kiernan’s dispassionate recording of the behaviour of the regional powers – Champa, Cambodia, China, India – should help to make Vietnam: A history from earliest times a durable work” (March 7, 2018). Kiernan is also the author of How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930-1975 (1985, 2004), which was Asiaweek “Editor’s Pick of the Month”; Cambodia: The Eastern Zone Massacres (1986); The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (1996, 2002, 2008); Le Génocide au Cambodge, 1975-1979: Race, idéologie, et pouvoir (1998); and Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial and Justice in Cambodia and East Timor (2007). He is the co-author of Khmers Rouges ! Matériaux pour l’histoire du communisme au Cambodge (1981), Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942-1981 (1982), and Cambodge: Histoire et enjeux (1986), and has published numerous articles on Southeast Asia and the history of genocide. He is a member of the editorial boards of Critical Asian Studies, Human Rights Review, and Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung, and is a Research Affiliate of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut.