Happy New Year! The Center is looking ahead to a lively semester of programming and activities, including visiting research fellows, lectures, and travel to present research, participate in conferences, and conduct outreach about the Visual History Archive.
We are excited to start the year with the announcement that the Center has awarded its most esteemed fellowship to Marion Kaplan (Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University), a world-renowned scholar of German Jewish history. As the 2018-2019 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence, Professor Kaplan will spend one week at the Center in April before giving a public campus lecture on her research.
The Center kicked off our 2019 events with a lecture by our inaugural Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow Virginia Bullington (USC undergraduate, Narrative Studies), who conducted research in the Visual History Archive last summer on narratives of sexual violence in testimonies from the Armenian, Rwandan and Guatemalan genocides. The Center is looking forward to four more lectures by research fellows this Spring, a couple of other events focusing on the Armenian genocide we will announce soon, and several conferences we are co-organizing. (Read more about these events below.)
This month we welcomed our first research fellow of the semester – 2018-2019 Greenberg Research Fellow Lukas Meissel (University of Haifa), who wants to research testimonies to contextualize SS photography in concentration camps. In addition to our postdoctoral digital research fellow currently in residence, three more research fellows will be visiting the Center this Spring. The Interdisciplinary Research Week team from Latin America working on Jewish emigration will be making a return visit for another intensive week of discussion, research, and collaboration.
The Center’s staff has been hard at work organizing our outreach efforts for the spring and summer, which include introductions to the VHA for USC classes, an open house and informational session for USC faculty and librarians, and upcoming workshops at several universities in the northeast. We are excited to continue introducing scholars to the power and relevance of the VHA for research and teaching across disciplines.
We hope you stay tuned to our newsletter to stay updated and involved in all our plans and activities for this semester.
Wishing you all the best for the New Year and a successful Spring semester.
Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research
Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies
“The Stories We Tell: Narratives of Sexual Violence and Concepts of Gender in Post-Genocide Societies”
Virginia Bullington (USC, Narrative Studies)
2018 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow
In this lecture, Virginia Bullington (USC Narrative Studies) presented the results of her summer research on how the ways in which sexual violence is discussed in survivor testimonies from the Armenian, Rwandan and Guatemalan genocide collections reflect concepts of gender within these post-genocide societies. She examined the emotional responses of witnesses, the language they used, and the interview environment among other factors to engage in a comparative study of testimonies from the three collections. She also discussed more recent research she has conducted using the same methodology with testimonies from survivors of the Nanjing massacre. The lecture drew a large audience of around 40 faculty and students and stimulated a great discussion. The event showed excitement about USC students conducting original research with the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.
Read more about Virginia Bullington here.
Watch the lecture and read a summary here.
Marion Kaplan named 2018-2019 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence
Marion Kaplan, world-renowned scholar and Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University, has been named the 2018-2019 Sara and Asa Shapiro Scholar in Residence.
Professor Kaplan is best known for her research on how Nazi persecution affected German Jewish families, as well as her work on the role of gender in Jewish history, particularly during the Holocaust. She is a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Her work has received numerous prizes and accolades. Her current research focuses on Jewish emigration in Portugal during the Holocaust. Professor Kaplan will conclude her weeklong residency at the Center with a public campus lecture on April 11, 2019. Further details will be announced soon.
Intended to inspire prominent scholars, the Sara and Asa Shapiro Annual Holocaust Testimony Scholar and Lecture Fund enables one senior scholar to spend time in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. This prestigious fellowship is only available through an invitation by staff at the Center.
Read more about Professor Kaplan here.
2018-2019 Greenberg Research Fellow Lukas Meissel starts his research with testimonies on SS photography in concentration camps
Lukas Meissel, PhD candidate in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University, Israel, began his month-long residency at the Center. He will be in residence at the Center to conduct research in the Visual History Archive for his doctoral dissertation on SS photography in concentration camps. He hopes that by juxtaposing the images taken by perpetrators with the perspectives of victims as represented in testimonies of the Visual History Archive, he will be able to contextualize the one-sided Nazi visual documentation of the Holocaust and break the visual narrative of its perpetrators.
He will deliver a public campus lecture on his research on February 12, 2019. For more details or to RSVP, click here.
Read more about Lukas Meissel here.
In January, Associate Director and Senior Research Officer Martha Stroud visited Yale University for the launch of the new Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies’ online interface, Aviary. Fortunoff Video Archive director Stephen Naron, Kevin Glick (Yale Archivist/Digital Information Systems), and representatives from software development company AVP introduced the platform to the assembled audience of scholars, archivists, librarians, and museum staff from institutions throughout the Northeast. They demonstrated what the platform will look like, how it will work, and what kind of searching and discovery it will enable in the future. In addition to attending the presentation, Martha participated in some user testing, providing feedback about the platform and its features and functionality. This visit was part of the Center's ongoing cooperation with the Fortunoff Video Archive, and it provided a valuable introduction since scholars at USC will be able to access Fortunoff Video Archive through this interface in the future.
In February, the Center will welcome students from the USC class French 373: Remembering Loss, Writing Memory for an introduction to the Visual History Archive. Center staff will also visit the USC classes ARLT 100: Representing the Holocaust and JS 211: The Holocaust to introduce students to the Visual History Archive. The Center is also collaborating with the Institute’s Education department to co-organize an open house introducing USC faculty and librarians to the Visual History Archive and IWitness University.
Later in the month, Center Director Wolf Gruner will travel to UC San Diego to give a lecture as part of their Holocaust Living History Workshop Program. Visual History Archive Program Coordinator Badema Pitic will travel to Oxford University to conduct a VHA workshop. Associate Director Martha Stroud will travel to Guatemala with USC Shoah Foundation board members on an educational trip hosted by Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala.
February 12, 2019 at 12PM, Doheny Memorial Library 241
Public lecture by Lukas Meissel, 2018-2019 Greenberg Research Fellow Lukas Meissel (University of Haifa): “SS Photographs from Concentration Camps: Perpetrator Sources and Counter-Narratives of Victims”
February 12, 2019 at 4PM, Doheny Memorial Library 206
April 2, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus, SOS 250
April 11, 2019 – Further details to follow
Save the date for a public lecture by the 2018-2019 Shapiro Scholar in Residence Marion Kaplan (New York University)
April 16, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus, SOS 250
April 23, 2019 at 12PM, Doheny Memorial Library 241
As part of our Librarian’s Corner Series, we hope to introduce librarians and researchers elsewhere to the wealth and breadth of our Visual History Archive collections. In this issue of our newsletter, we focus on the Nanjing Massacre collection.
In 2012, the USC Shoah Foundation started its collaboration with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing, China, to record and preserve the testimonies of the survivors of the mass violence perpetrated by the Japanese army, known as the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. The systematic mass violence took place during the second Sino-Japanese war in the Nanjing area and city and claimed the lives of between 100,000 and 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers. The massacres were accompanied by a wave of rape and looting.
Since December 2012, a local team of producers and an interviewer, together with the USC Shoah Foundation staff, have recorded 103 survivor testimonies, 102 of which have been incorporated into the Visual History Archive. The last Nanjing Massacre survivors, many over 90 years old, gave their testimonies either at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall or in their homes in Nanjing. Two testimonies from the collection were recorded with survivors living in Middletown, New Jersey. The testimonies feature survivors’ life histories which, in addition to describing their experience of the Nanjing Massacre, also include information about the pre- and post- massacre periods.
All of the testimonies in the collection are in Mandarin, and 40 of them have English subtitles. Most of the testimonies, except for a number of them taken in 2017, are indexed. The average length of testimonies in the collection is about one hour.
The testimonies are accessible at http://vha.usc.edu/login. 38 Nanjing testimonies are also available in the VHA Online. To watch short excerpts from the testimonies, go to https://sfi.usc.edu/video/xia-shuqin-nanjing-massacre and https://sfi.usc.edu/content/madame-yong-nanjing-massacre.
Call for Applications
USC-Yale Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Libraries and the University of Southern California Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative invite applications from postdoctoral scholars for their 2019-2020 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The fellowship will be awarded to an outstanding postdoctoral scholar from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the comparative analysis of testimonies by Holocaust survivors who gave interviews to both the Fortunoff Video Archive and the USC Shoah Foundation. There are over 1,000 survivors who gave interviews to both archives. (Potential comparisons include not only the content of the testimonies, but also the interview process, methodology, etc.) The recipient will be expected to split the time of the residency between Yale and USC. The fellowship offers a salary of $50,000, medical benefits, as well as a fixed amount for moving expenses between New Haven and Los Angeles. The chosen fellow will be expected to provide each institution with fresh research perspectives and to play a role in each institution’s activities. To conclude the fellowship period, during Spring 2020, the fellow will have the opportunity to present their research at an event that will be organized in partnership between the two institutions.
Deadline for applications is February 28, 2019.
For more details, click here.
2019-2020 Center Junior Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites applications from postdoctoral scholars for its 2019-2020 Center Junior Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The fellowship offers an annual salary of $70,000, plus fringe benefits and will be awarded to an outstanding junior postdoctoral scholar from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the use of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other USC resources. The chosen fellow will teach one course during the fellowship period in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and will be expected to provide the Center with fresh research perspectives, to play a role in Center activities, and to give a public lecture during his or her stay.
Deadline for applications is February 28, 2019.
For more details, click here.
2019 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites research proposals from USC undergraduate students and USC graduate students for the 2019 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship. The fellowship provides $1,000 support for USC undergraduate students or $3,000 support for USC graduate students doing research focused on the testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and/or other related USC resources and collections during the summer of 2019. The fellowship is open to USC undergraduate students and graduate students of all disciplines.
Deadline for applications is March 31, 2019.
For more details, click here.