In Memoriam: Mark von Hagen (1954-2019)

Monday, September 16, 2019
Mark von Hagen (Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and former Director of the Harriman Institute, 1995-2001) died early in the morning of September 15, 2019, after a two-week hospitalization, surrounded by friends and family. According to the announcement on Facebook, Mark was convening seminars in his room, enjoying discussions about history, philosophy, and friendship, three of his favorite topics.
 
Mark came to Columbia in 1985 to take up the position of Assistant Professor of History, his first job after defending his dissertation at Stanford University. Mark's legacy at the Harriman Institute includes the fundraising for and establishment of the Ukrainian Studies Program,  the development of the Harriman master's program in regional studies and its signature course, Legacies of the Soviet Union. 
 
He remained at Columbia until 2007, when he left his position as the Boris Bakhmeteff Professor of Russian and East European Studies and Chair of the History Department to take up his appointment at the University of Arizona, where he was  Professor of History and Global Studies with a joint appointment in the School of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies and School of International Letters and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Mark was also the founding director of the Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement at ASU.
 
The breadth of Mark's accomplishments and expertise is easily summed up by the fact that he served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies and President of the International Association for Ukrainian Studies, and Dean of the Philosophy Faculty with the Ukraininan Free University in Munich, Germany.
 
Mark published articles, book reviews and essays on topics ranging from historiography, civil-military relations, and nationality politics to minority and cultural history. He is the author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship: The Red Army and the Soviet Socialist State, 1917-1930 (Cornell, 1990); co-edited (with Catherine Evtuhov, Boris Gasparov, and Alexander Ospovat) Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg: Multiple Faces of the Russian Empire (Moscow, 1997); co-edited (with Karen Barkey) After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building: The Soviet Union and the Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg Empire (Westview, 1997); co-edited (with Andreas Kappeler, Zenon Kohut and Frank Sysyn) Culture, Nation, Identity: the Ukrainian-Russian Encounter (1600-1945) (Toronto, 2003); coedited (with Jane Burbank) Russian Empire: Space, People, Power, 1700-1930  (Indiana, 2007) and War in a European Borderlands: Occupations and Occupation Plans in Galicia and Ukraine, 1914-1918 (University of Washington Press, 2007). 
 
One of Mark's recent presentations at the Harriman took place in September 2016, when he gave the talk "From Cold War to Civilizational Conflict: On Learning, Relearning and Unlearning," which is available on video. Mark wrote up his talk, significantly expanding some parts, for publication in Harriman Magazine. In addition, Mark is one of the narrators for the Harriman Institute's Oral History Project.
 
Mark was an inspirational teacher and generous colleague, whose gift for friendship was unexcelled. 
 
There will not be a public funeral service.  Mark is survived by his loving spouse of many years Johnny Roldan-Chacon, his brother Luke von Hagen, sister-in-law Pam Hluzek von Hagen, niece Laura von Hagen, nephew Alex von Hagen, his family in Puerto Rico and students around the world.