Center Newsletters

September 2016 CAGR Newsletter

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 12:08pm -- martha.stroud

September has been a very exciting month at the Center. After months of preparation and anticipation, the first international conference dedicated to the genocide in Guatemala, co-organized by Center director Wolf Gruner und Victoria Sanford (CUNY), took place from September 11th to September 14th on the USC campus and at Villa Aurora. The gathering of 26 international scholars to discuss new research about the genocide in Guatemala and the connected cultural events – the special preview film screening of the Spielberg-produced documentary Finding Oscar about an abducted child from a massacre in Guatemala, and the keynote address by genocide survivor and indigenous leader Rosalina Tuyuc – each attracted over a hundred attendees. The conference proceedings were also livestreamed, and people watched from not only North and South America, but as far away as the United Arab Emirates. Guatemalan hip-hop artist Rebeca Lane filled USC Bovard auditorium with an enthusiastic crowd of almost 1,000 people, mostly students. Even the conference participants ended up dancing and singing to her politically engaged tunes. This series of events about Genocide and Resistance in Guatemala received media attention from media at USC, in Los Angeles, in Central and South America but also as far as Spain and the UK, thereby contributing to durably and globally raising awareness about the genocide in Guatemala. Read more below.  

Just a week after the conference we hosted Paula Cuellar Cuellar’s public lecture. As the 2016-2017 Center Graduate Research Fellow, she is one of the first researchers to access the newly collected Guatemalan testimonies. Her lecture about her comparative research on systematic scorched earth policies in El Salvador and Guatemala was an appropriate companion event to the conference. Read more below. 

In September, the Center also co-sponsored two exciting events: the film screening of The Other Side of Home in partnership with the USC Institute of Armenian Studies and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and the lecture by Stefanie Coché "How Madness Works: Labor in the Process of Psychiatric Commitment in Germany (1941-1963)" with the Max Kade Institute.

Last but not least, we also continued our outreach as Center staff attended a series of events hosted by the Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at the American University of Paris. You can read more about our outreach in Paris below. 

Wolf Gruner

Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research
Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies


The First International Conference about the Genocide in Guatemala   

Entitled “A Conflict? Genocide and Resistance in Guatemala,” this groundbreaking interdisciplinary conference brought together a group of international scholars from disciplines as diverse as International Relations, Anthropology, History, Literary, Latin American and Women’s Studies.   

If you could not experience it in person or you missed the livestream, we have begun posting videos of the exciting conference proceedings here. All the remaining videos will be posted soon. You can also check out some of our media coverage here. Next month’s newsletter will include a summary of the conference content and recurring themes.


Paula Cuellar Cuellar on El Salvador and Guatemala 

During the month of September, the Center welcomed our 2016-2017 Center Graduate Research Fellow, Paula Cuellar Cuellar. Paula is a PhD candidate in History with a minor in Human Rights at the University of Minnesota. She was invited to the Center for Advanced Genocide Research to access the USC Shoah Foundation’s new Guatemalan genocide testimonies as part of her research on scorched earth campaigns in Central America. 

Her research is particularly concerned with whether scorched earth operations in Guatemala and El Salvador constitute genocidal practices and the wider implications of that debate for the meaning of the term “genocide.” She explored these questions in her lecture entitled “A Tale of Two Genocides: Scorched Earth Operations as Genocidal Practices in El Salvador and Guatemala.” 

Read the summary of her lecture here


Center Staff visits Schaeffer Center at the American University of Paris 

In September, Center Academic Relations and Outreach Officer Emilie Garrigou-Kempton and USC Professor of French Colin Keaveney visited the American University of Paris at the invitation of Brian Schiff, the director of the Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention. The purpose of their visit was to conduct a series of workshops to familiarize AUP faculty and French scholars with the use of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive for research and teaching. Founded last spring, the Schaeffer Center is one of the newest VHA access sites and as the first site in Paris providing full access to the testimonies, it provides an invaluable resource for Holocaust and genocide scholars in France.  

On September 26, Emilie Garrigou-Kempton took part in a joint presentation alongside Sharon Kangisser Cohen, Director of the Central Archive of the Jewish People at the National Library of Israel and of The Diana Zborowski Center for the Study of the Aftermath of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, and Joanne Weiner Rudof, Archivist at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Library. Entitled “The Archives in Perspective,” this event allowed the presenters to highlight and problematize the differences between the various Holocaust archives in order to provide a much-needed context for scholars to understand the specificities and distinct identities of each archive and appreciate their unique contributions. Well-attended by both AUP faculty and French scholars, the presentations generated stimulating discussions between the presenters and the audience about the nature of each archive.  

Later, Garrigou-Kempton and Keaveney co-presented a workshop to introduce faculty to the practice of teaching using testimonies from the VHA. After Garrigou-Kempton’s introduction  Keaveney presented two case studies from his own teaching experience in French courses. He also shared how he has assigned research with the testimonies for one of his literature courses to complement students’ reading of Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder,  a novel that investigates the fate of a young runaway Jewish girl in occupied Paris. While Dora Bruder puts together various historical sources to retrace the steps that would eventually lead her to deportation, the VHA then becomes one complementary source for students to conduct their own research. AUP faculty and professors from various French universities were very impressed by Keaveney’s creative use of the archive and his presentation inspired many to use the VHA in their classrooms.  You can read more about Keaveney's use of testimonies in teaching here

Ask an Archivist Day 

To commemorate National Archives Month, the Society of American Archivists is sponsoring a social media event #AskAnArchivist Day on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The day is an opportunity for archivists to interact with anyone interested in their profession by answering questions with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. USC Shoah Foundation will participate in #AskanArchivist Day for the third year. Throughout the day our archivists and indexers will be answering questions on the Visual History Archive and the archive field. Learn more here

Spotlight on USC Resources

Part Four: Lion Feuchtwanger Papers

As part of our series on USC Holocaust and genocide studies resources, we would like to bring the spotlight to the papers of Lion Feuchtwanger, which are housed at the USC Doheny Memorial Library Special Collections.

Lion Feuchtwanger was a famous German-Jewish writer, who fled Nazi Germany and found exile in Los Angeles. The Lion Feuchtwanger papers consist of the novelist's personal and business correspondence; his manuscripts for plays, poetry, short stories, and historical novels; manuscripts by other writers including Charles Chaplin's manuscript for Limelight; correspondence with publishers; newspaper clippings mentioning Feuchtwanger and other exiles; photographs from Feuchtwanger's life in Germany, his exile in France from 1933-1941, and in the United States from 1941 onwards; copyright agreements and reviews of his works; ephemera; art works; audio and video recordings; and his speeches and open letters about Judaism, politics, and literature.

Noteworthy among the materials from Feuchtwanger's life in Germany are newspaper clippings containing Nazi propaganda and lists of people who were stripped of their German citizenship. The papers also contain Feuchtwanger's vast collection of autographed letters by notable historical figures.  

Find out more about this special collection here.  

Upcoming Events

October 10, 2016

Anna Holian’s lecture: “Afterimages of the Holocaust: The Theme of Jewish Children in Fred Zinnemann’s ‘The Search’ (1948).” Co-sponsored by the Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies

October 11, 2016

Benjamin Madley’s lecture: “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873”

November 7, 2016

“Reconceptualizing Nazi Camps: Changing Categories, Shifting Purposes, and Evolving Contexts.” A panel including Martin Dean (USHMM), Verena Buser (Alice Salomon University Berlin), Andrea Rudorff (Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich) and doctoral candidate Sari Siegel (USC) on new research regarding forced labor camps during the Holocaust.


Call for Applications

Center Research Fellowship 2017-2018: Due October 15

The Center Research Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding senior 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 incumbent will spend four months in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the 2017-2018 academic year. 

For more details, click here.

Interdisciplinary Research Week 2017: due November 15

Each year, the Center hosts an interdisciplinary team of scholars from different universities and countries for one week so that they can meet in person and work together intensively for a week to address a particular challenge within the field of genocide studies and start creating, or keep advancing, a cooperative research project. This unique opportunity, the week spent as a group together at the Center, allows researchers to prepare the groundwork for future cooperative research grant applications. The Center for Advanced Genocide Research will cover travel costs and accommodation for a team of five or six scholars for up to seven days and will provide them with expert staff assistance for their research as well as a dedicated workspace at the USC Shoah Foundation during the stay.

For more details, click here.

Donate to Special Collections

Please consider donating private papers, documents, photographs or films regarding the Holocaust and other genocides. The Center works with USC Libraries Special Collections to preserve private collections and make them accessible for academic research worldwide and student investigation at USC.

To find out more about donating materials, email us as or call 213-740-6001.

For more information about the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and its work, please visit our website at:

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