September was a busy month for the Center as the fall semester got into full swing. Center staff hosted multiple research fellows and visiting scholars in addition to conducting introductions to the Visual History Archive for visitors and USC undergraduate classes.
Center Graduate Research Fellow Sanna Stegmaier (King’s College London and Humboldt University, Berlin) concluded her residency at the Center after a series of interviews with USC Shoah Foundation staff about our interactive testimony project. Visiting scholar Anne-Berenike Rothstein (University of Konstanz, Germany) also concluded her two-week stay at the Center, and we welcomed Kimberly Cheng (New York University), the Center’s 2018-2019 Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow, for her month-long residency. Read more about these scholars below.
We are looking forward to a series of events this fall, including a lecture by Geoffrey Robinson (UCLA) on the mass killings in Indonesia and a talk by our 2018-2019 Center Research Fellow Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, UK) on what happens with human remains after mass murder. We are also excited to be co-sponsoring two upcoming events – a lecture by Martina Kessel (University of Bielefeld, Germany) on laughter and violence in Nazi Germany, co-sponsored with the USC Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, and the third annual international conference “Memory through the Screen: Polish Film and World War II”, cosponsored with the USC Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, which will take place on the USC campus in mid-October. Read more about all our upcoming events below.
Lastly, our international conference “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” is quickly approaching. The conference is open to the public and we encourage you to attend. If you haven’t yet, read more about the conference speakers and register for the conference on our conference website below.
Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research
Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies
International Conference “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison”
The 2018 international conference, “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison” will be held November 5-7, 2018 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. The conference is co-organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. The conference is presented in cooperation with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. and the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin, Germany.
Scholars from across the United States, Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom will convene at the conference representing a wide variety of disciplines, including history, political science, Jewish studies, French and literature. Talks will discuss reactions to the pogrom by victims and witnesses inside Nazi Germany as well as foreign journalists, diplomats, Jewish organizations and Jewish print media. Presenters will also analyze postwar narratives and global comparisons.
To read the program and to learn more about the distinguished speakers, visit the conference website here.
Conference registration is now open. Click here to register.
2018-2019 Breslauer, Rutman & Anderson Research Fellow Kimberly Cheng (New York University) conducts research on Jewish refugees in Shanghai
Kimberly Cheng, a doctoral candidate in the Joint PhD Program in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History at NYU, arrived in early September to begin her month-long residency. Kimberly is conducting innovative research in the Visual History Archive on the interactions between central European Jewish refugees and their Chinese neighbors in post-World War II Shanghai.
She presented the preliminary results of parts of her research in the Visual History Archive in a public lecture entitled “American Dreams: Jewish Refugees and their Chinese Neighbors in Post-World War II Shanghai” at USC at the end of September. A summary and video of her lecture will be available in next month’s newsletter.
Read more about Kimberly here.
2018 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow Virginia Bullington Receives Provost’s Research Fellowship
We congratulate USC undergraduate student Virginia Bullington (American Studies and Narrative Studies) for having been awarded a Fall 2018 Provost’s Research Fellowship to continue her research in the Visual History Archive, which she started as the 2018 Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow.
This summer, Virginia spent four weeks at the Center conducting research on how the way in which sexual violence is discussed in testimony reveals concepts of gender within societies post-conflict. She consulted survivor testimonies from the Armenian, Rwandan and Guatemalan collections in the Visual History Archive in order to study cultural differences in how survivors of sexual violence, and their communities, speak about the role and impact of sexual violence during genocide. She will present the results of her research in a public lecture in the spring.
Read more about Virginia here.
2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow Sanna Stegmaier (King’s College, London and Humboldt University, Berlin) concludes her residency
Sanna Stegmaier is a second-year joint PhD student in German Studies and Cultural Studies at King's College London and Humboldt University, Berlin. Sanna’s dissertation project investigates how contemporary witness projects such as the interactive testimony project “Dimensions in Testimony”, which she calls posttestimony, constitute original, self-reflective forms of engagement that pose new ethical questions for the field of memory studies and Holocaust education.
She spent her time at the USC Shoah Foundation interviewing staff from the Dimensions in Testimony project, the Media department and the Center for Advanced Genocide Research in order to gain insight into the development and applications of the interactive survivor project. She concluded her stay with a lunchtime presentation to Institute staff detailing the insights gained during her stay and how they will contribute to her future research plans.
Read more about Sanna here.
Visiting scholar Anne-Berenike Rothstein (Germany) concludes two-week stay at Center
Anne-Berenike Rothstein, a researcher in the Department of Romance Languages and Comparative Literature and an Academic Counselor at the University of Konstanz, Germany, concluded her stay at the USC Shoah Foundation with a presentation to Institute staff. During her time at the Center, Dr. Rothstein developed a proposal to re-conceptualize the guided tour of the Goldbacher-Stollen concentration camp, a satellite of Dachau, by incorporating virtual reality technology and survivor testimony.
Read more about Dr. Rothstein here.
In September, Center Director Wolf Gruner traveled to Berlin to present at two events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Evian Conference in July 1938 and the deportation of thousands of former Polish Jews from Berlin in October 1938.
Center staff members welcomed students from USC undergraduate classes in history and religion, introducing them to the Visual History Archive. VHA Program Coordinator Badema Pitic led VHA introductions for Professor Gruner’s undergraduate research seminar Mass Violence and Comparative Genocide in Modern World History and a senior seminar in religion entitled Religion and Violence (Professor James Heft). She also visited the undergraduate history lecture class How to Be an American: Global Histories of US Citizenship (Professor Nathan Perl-Rosenthal) for a presentation on the VHA and to provide guidance on conducting interviews.
In October, Center Director Wolf Gruner will participate in a panel discussion of the film The City Without Jews at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles.
October 3, 2018 at 12pm (USC, Social Sciences Building 250)
Public lecture by Martina Kessel (Bielefeld University, Germany): “Performing Germanness: Laughter and Violence in Nazi Germany”
October 4, 2018 at 4pm (USC, Social Sciences Building 250)
October 16-18, 2018 at USC
November 5-7, 2018 at USC
November 13, 2018 (USC, Social Sciences Building 250)
Public lecture by 2018-2019 Center Research Fellow Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester): "Corpses of the Holocaust"
(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 Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence (August-October 2017) collection.)
The Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence (August-October 2017) collection is the newest collection of testimonies in the Visual History Archive. The USC Shoah Foundation recorded approximately one hundred interviews with Rohingya refugees in a number of refugee camps in Bangladesh beginning in November 2017. Eleven of these testimonies were integrated into the Visual History Archive in August 2018, on the anniversary of the beginning of the systematic mass violence in Myanmar and the flight of more than 700,000 Rohingya men, women and children across the border to Bangladesh. Six testimonies are by Rohingya women, and five are by Rohingya men. The interviews have been conducted in the Rohingya language with the help of translators, and all of them were overseen by the USC Shoah Foundation staff. The testimonies discuss the experience of displacement and forced expulsion, the loss of loved ones and incidents of mass killings.
While eleven testimonies with the Rohingya refugees are integrated into the archive, only one is subtitled and indexed. (To watch a couple of clips from Rohingya testimonies that have been subtitled into English, click here and here). In the Rohingya testimonies that are not yet subtitled, the real-time translation into English is audible during the interviews.
To learn more about the collection, click here.
To access the full collection, visit http://vha.usc.edu/login at one of our access sites. Only one testimony from the collection is currently available in VHAOnline.
Call for Papers
2020 Interdisciplinary Research Week
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites proposals for its 2019-2020 Interdisciplinary Research Week that will provide support for an interdisciplinary group of international scholars to develop and discuss a collaborative innovative research project in the field of Holocaust and Genocide Studies using the video testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA) and other related resources at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Each year, the Center hosts an interdisciplinary team of scholars from different universities and countries and/or continents for one week so that they can meet in person and work together intensively to address a particular challenge within the field of genocide studies and start creating or keep advancing a cooperative research project. The week spent 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.
Deadline for applications is November 15, 2018. To view the call for applications and learn more, click here.
Comparative Lenses: Video Testimonies of Survivors and Eyewitnesses on Genocide and Mass Violence
International Conference at the American University of Paris, June 6-7, 2019
The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at the American University of Paris, Yahad-In Unum, the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and AGBU Nubar Library announce the international conference “Comparative Lenses: Video Testimonies of Survivors and Eyewitnesses on Genocide and Mass Violence” to be held June 6-7, 2019 in Paris, France. The goal of this conference is to deepen our understanding of video testimonies documenting genocide and mass violence by exploring the following questions, among others. (To see the full list of questions, consult the call for papers.)
What are the challenges of collecting testimonies on genocide and mass violence? To what extent have technological advances altered the recording and subsequent exploitation of video testimonies? How has collecting video testimonies on genocide and mass violence changed the categorization and scope of the witnesses and their narratives about genocide and mass violence? The Visual History Archive, due to its wide accessibility and enormous scope, is prominent among the corpus of Holocaust testimonies, but to what extent is it also a relevant source for the study of the other crimes that it documents?
The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2018.
To view the call for papers, click here.