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Karl Benziger

photo of Karl Benziger Craig-Lee 462
(401) 456-8764
(401) 456-8039


B.M., Performance, State University of New York, College at Fredonia
M.A. and Ph.D. New York University


Professor of History (2010),
Associate Professor of History and Secondary Education (2004),
Assistant Professor of History and Secondary Education (1999)
Department of History
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI


Karl Benziger is a Professor of History at Rhode Island College. He teaches courses in American Foreign Policy along with a broad range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level that accord with his research interests. Previously, as a jointly appointed faculty member he led the effort to redesign the History Secondary Education major at the College to rigorously conform to the Guild Standards of the historical profession at the national and international level. The program is nationally recognized by NCATE/ NCSS. Before coming to Rhode Island he co-founded an interdisciplinary mini-school at South Shore High School in Brooklyn, New York through an American Forum project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. His association with Hungary was fostered through several Fulbright Teaching scholarships and a Civic Education Project grant funded though the Soros Foundation. In addition to his book Imre Nagy Martyr of the Nation: Contested History, Legitimacy, and Popular Memory in Hungary and various articles on political memory, theory, The Cold War, and Hungary, he has written articles and created curriculum about the convergence of domestic and foreign policy centered on Civil Rights and Vietnam. Currently he is working on a project entitled, “The Revised Republic: Hungary’s Heroic Narratives and Stories of the Lost Cause.” He is also engaged in a collaborative project related to historical memory, trauma, and contemporary politics with the Political Scientist Richard Weiner. Whenever possible, he enjoys playing music and rediscovering the world anew with his family. He makes his home in Rhode Island with his wife Klara and two children Emese and George.

Courses Taught

  • History 335: American Foreign Policy Since 1945: The Cold War and Beyond
  • History 336: The American War in Vietnam
  • History 354: Restless Heroes, Revolution, and Specters from the Past: Nationalism and National Identities in Comparison, the Hungarian Case
  • History 362: The United States on the World Stage: 1965, The American War in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement
  • History 361: Betwixt and Between: Movements of National Liberation and the Superpowers, Vietnam, Hungary, and the American Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1961
  • History 561: The Politics of Memory and Historical Narratives
  • History 268: Civil rights and National Liberation Movements
  • History 201: United States History, Colonial to 1877
  • History 202: United States History Since 1877
  • History 161: Western History
  • History 107: Multiple Voices: The United States and the World
  • FYS: December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001: Competing Narratives and Contested History​
  • Political Science 201: Development of American Democracy
  • SED 410: History/Social Studies: Practicum
  • SED 421-422: History/Social Studies: Student Teaching Seminar and Supervision


Karl P. Benziger, "Decolonization, National Cold War Narratives, and Contested History: The Case of Vietnam and Civil Rights," in History Education and (Post-) Colonialism: International Case Studies, Susanne Popp, Katja Gorbahn, Susanne Grindel, eds., (Berlin: Peter Lang GmbH, 2019).

Karl P. Benziger, "The Strong State and Embedded Dissonance: History Education and Populist Politics in Hungary," Yesterday and Today, 18 (December, 2017).

​Karl P. Benziger, "The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 at Sixty Years: Liberal Reform and the Search for a Useable Past," Corvinus Journal of International Affairs, 1, 3 (November, 2016)

Karl P. Benziger, "Propaganda and Dissent: The American War in Vietnam, Hungary, and the Narrative of Dissent," in Forms of Political and Media Propaganda in Central Europe, Czecho-Slovakia and Hungary (1938-1968), Barnabás Vajda, ed., (Komárno: University of János Selye Press, 2016).

Karl P. Benziger, "Music, Minstrels, and the American Civil War: Entertainment, Imagination, and Historical Interpretation," International Journal of Research on History Didactics, History Education and History Culture, Yearbook of the International Society of History Didactics, 36 (2015).

Karl P. Benziger and Richard R. Weiner, "Trauma and the Limits of Redemptive Critique: Interrogating the Haunting Voices of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution" Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 29 (2011).

Karl P. Benziger and Robert Cvornyek, "American Foreign Policy at an Impasse: Teaching about Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement," Perspectives on History, 48, 5 (May, 2010).

Karl P. Benziger, Imre Nagy Martyr of the Nation: Contested History, Legitimacy, and Popular Memory in Hungary (Lexington Books: Lanham MD, 2008).

Karl P. Benziger, "The Trial of Lászlo Bárdossy: World War II and Factional Politics in Contemporary Hungary," Journal of Contemporary History, 40, 3 (July, 2005).

Karl P. Benziger, "Imre Nagy: Martyr of the Nation," The East European Quaterly, 36, 2 (Summer, 2002).

Karl P. Benziger, "The Funeral of Imre Nagy: Contested History and the Power of Memory Culture" History and Memory, 12, 2 (Fall/Winter, 2000).​

Conference Proceedings

Karl P. Benziger, “Funerals and Memory Culture: The Funeral of Imre Nagy and the Parliamentary Debate Over Contested Memory,” The 1950’s. Proceedings of the 2003 Biannual Conference of the Hungarian Association of American Studies. Ed., Eniko Bollobás (Budapest: Eötvos Kiadó, 2005).

Karl P. Benziger and Robert Cvornyek, “Redefining the Narrative: The Collision of American Foreign and Domestic Policy in 1965, Vietnam and the Civil rights Movement,” Proceedings of the Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, Monash University Center, Prato, International Journal of the Humanities, 2, 2 (2004).

Karl P. Benziger, “1956 and the Politics of Memory: Legitimacy and Civil Society in Contemporary Hungary,” The Narrative of Modernity: Co-Existence of Differences, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Ed., Enrique Banus (Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, 2004).

​Educational Materials

The Malta Summit of 1989 from the Hungarian Perspective: Related Sources after 25 Years, April, 2015.
Edited by: Csaba Békes, Béla Révész, Barnabás Vajda
Co-editors: Laura Deal, Karl P. Benziger​



Rhode Island Teacher Education Renewal TQE-P
Feinstein School of Education
“The World System: Building World History and Global United States History Curriculum”
History and the Social Sciences Seminar, Objective 1


Eisenhower Grant
Rhode Island Office of Higher Education
“The United States on the World Stage: Teaching Post World War II History in the Secondary Classroom”
with Robert Cvornyek and Ronald Dufour


Professional Development Grant, Rhode Island College
Feinstein School of Education
“The American War in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement”
Teacher Exchange
Rhode Island College, Eötvos Lorand University

Educational Materials Produced from Grants

The United States on the World Stage: Teaching Post 1945 American History in the Secondary Classroom, 2005.

1965, The Turning Point: The American War in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement, 2002.

Page last updated: October 09, 2019