Participant Info

First Name
Peggy
Last Name
O'Donnell
Affiliation
University of Chicago
Website URL
www.peggyodonnell.com
Keywords
Human Rights, War, Gender, Atrocity, Genocide
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I am currently the postdoctoral instructor at the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago.

My work revolves around a seemingly simple question: why do people care (or not care) about the lives, deaths, and sufferings of faraway others? The history of human rights, as I see it, is a history of a global public learning to care (and, just as importantly, learning not to care) about others they don’t know, whether down the street or halfway around the world. What makes them care? What makes them stop caring? And how does caring or not caring shape their behavior, their beliefs, their politics? A historian by training, I approach these questions by considering the actors who have transmitted information of the lives, deaths, and sufferings of others to a global public. In my doctoral work, I looked at the forensic scientists who exhumed and investigated mass graves created by conflict and atrocity. My more recent work considers the lives, work, and worldviews of women war correspondents, whose stories helped to change the way news consumers experienced faraway wars and, in doing so, contributed to a rise of human rights consciousness and awareness in western publics in the 1970s and 1990s. I earned my Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley and previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

My writing has recently appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Atlas Obscura. An article on forensic science and Holocaust prosecutions will be published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in winter 2018.

Recent Publications

My op-ed, “The Bodies Finally Caught up with ‘The Butcher of Bosnia’,” appeared online and in the November 28, 2017 print edition of The Chicago Tribune.

My essay, “The Sexism that Permeates the Academy,” appeared online and in the October 27, 2017 print edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

My article, “‘A Gateway to Hell’: A Nazi Mass Grave, Australian Forensic Scientists, and a 50 Year-Old Murder,” will appear in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 32, no. 3, in Winter 2018.

A fun piece titled “The Politics of Pie Cutting at West Point’s Mess Hall” appeared on Atlas Obscura in June 2017.

My essay, “The Kids Aren’t Alright: Millennials and Other Maligned Generations,” appeared on KQED, San Francisco’s NPR affiliate, in May 2016.

My essay, “Power Comes with Economic Security: Feminism’s Fault Lines” appeared in Salon in February 2016.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Law, Military, Politics, Race, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Women