Two Cazenovia College faculty members who are presenting talks for the 2021-2022 season of the “Great Minds/Great Ideas Faculty Library Lecture Series” will look at two intriguing and diverse historical figures.

The subjects of their talks are Raphael Lemkin, a Polish attorney of Jewish descent who lived from 1900 - 1959 and created the concept of “genocide” during World War II, and Central New York native Rod Serling, an innovative mid-20th century American TV show creator who also vocally called for social equality at that time.

The virtual lectures are scheduled Thursday, September 23, and Thursday, October 21. Both take place at 7:00 p.m. and are hosted by Cazenovia College in conjunction with the Manlius Library and the Cazenovia Public Library. Zoom presentations for participating in both lectures are being coordinated by Bill Loveland at Manlius Public Library.


Details are:

Thursday, September 23: 7:00 p.m. (Virtually)

“Raphael Lemkin and the Invention of Genocide”

Dr. Jesse Harasta

Associate Professor Jesse Harasta, program director for the Cazenovia College International Studies program and associate professor of international studies and social science, will explore the life, ideas, and importance of Lemkin. An attorney, Lemkin was most famous for coining the term “genocide” and for his work defining these war crimes and starting processes that led to the United Nations Genocide Convention.

Professor Harasta will examine the roots of the Genocide Concept in the legal and cultural history of 19th and early 20th century war crimes and “crimes of barbarity,” a ground-breaking concept at the time. He will discuss how Lemkin’s sweeping definition of genocide was altered by the United Nations Convention, how that affected the original and the official definitions, and Lemkin’s continuing legacy in the development of the scholarly field of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention Studies.

Watch the Recorded Lecture here


Thursday, October 21: 7:00 p.m. (Virtually)

“The Improbable Made Possible: The Art and Advocacy of Rod Serling"

Jennifer Caruana

Associate Lecturer Jennifer Caruana will present a new face of the Rod Serling we know as creator and host of “The Twilight Zone” TV show, since this Central New York native was so much more than an eerie voice echoing from our television sets. Caruana, an adjunct lecturer in academic writing and effective speaking at Cazenovia College, will explain Serling’s actions and history as a soldier, activist, and voice that spoke loudly and firmly towards the call for social equality when that movement wasn’t common to the times.

Her lecture will explore Serling’s upbringing, Central New York roots, military service, creative achievements, and social activism as she reviews the intersection between cultural consciousness and creativity. With today being an era that some would say can feel like an episode of Serling’s most well-known achievement, we may reflect on what art can teach us about advocacy, agency, and the human spirit.

The Great Minds/Great Ideas Faculty Library Lecture Series is made possible through the generous funding and support of Helen Stacy and Patricia Stacy Healey ʼ62.

For more information, visit or contact the Cazenovia Public Library at (315) 655-9322; The Manlius Library at (315) 682-6400; or the project director of the Cazenovia College Faculty Library Lecture Series, Prof. Sarah Cross at (315) 655-7679.