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USC Research With Testimonies: Featuring the Center's Summer 2017 Research Fellows

Language: English

This lecture features two of our summer 2017 research fellows: Maria Zalewska, PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies and Mellon PhD Fellow in the Digital Humanities, USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Noha Ayoub, USC undergraduate student majoring in Law, History and Culture and minoring in Middle East Studies.

Zalewska’s project engages with the Institute’s Visual History Archive by comparing the testimonies of memories of the pre-World War II spaces in which Poles and Jews interacted with their cinematically narrativized counterparts. Ayoub contextualizes testimonies in the Institute's archive through her research on nationalism in Rwanda and the ways in which fictionalized narratives against Tutsis perpetrated by the state led to genocide over 20 years ago.

  • November 15, 2012: Dr. Sean Field discussed oral histories in the context of both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Centre for Popular Memory in South Africa and approaches to studying memories of violence.

  • September 27, 2012: Cambodian genocide survivor Kosal Path, a lecturer in the USC School of International Relations and a USC Shoah Foundation Fellow, discussed his research on social rehabilitation in post-genocide Cambodia.

  • January 18, 2012: Resistance during the Holocaust is still mostly seen in terms of organized or armed group activities, yet this perspective overlooks individual acts of opposition. Up to now, the availability of sources for analyzing the behavior of German Jews has been limited. Historians used reports originated by the Nazi state and/or written post-war testimonies. In those sources individual acts of opposition barely emerge. However, a closer analysis of the micro level of Nazi society challenges the common image of German Jews as passive victims.

  • March 26, 2010: Audio-visual testimonies of traumatic historical events arouse profound emotions in their viewers. The pedagogical questions raised in this session focuses on the appropriateness and/or usefulness of emotionality in teaching about the Holocaust.

  • March 25, 2010: Since the Institute’s testimonies were given around 50 years after the events described, researchers must confront issues of memory and reliability. In this session moderated by Andrea Pető (Associate Professor, Gender Studies, Central European University), Robert Rozett, (Director of Yad Vashem Libraries) addresses problems that revolve around memory and reliability. He asks whether testimonies and memoirs bring us closer than other kinds of historical documents to understanding what people went through.

  • March 25, 2010: This plenary session follows up on earlier breakout sessions that addressed issues related to how context, teaching methodologies, and teaching objectives differ based on course discipline. This session is moderated by Mark Baker (Associate Professor, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia). One representative from each of the four groups reports on:

  • March 25, 2010: This session covers four presentations by faculty who have integrated the Institute’s testimonies into their courses in disciplines ranging from French and Italian, Didactics, Communication Studies, and Religious Studies. This session is moderated by Carolyn Ellis, Professor of Communications and Sociology, University of South Florida.

  • November 8, 2012: Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda spoke at the institute's Sexual Violence Against Women During the Holocaust Symposium, co-sponsored by Equality Now. Ms.

  • February 11, 2013: Dr. Howard Gardner, best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, engaged in a public conversation on the art science of 21st-century education with Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an award-winning behavioral and social scientist and faculty member at the University of Southern California.

  • March 4, 2013: What can the Institute’s Visual History Archive teach us about other mediations of the Holocaust: how survivors tell their stories, how life performance and other media shape their narratives, or even how humor figures into remembrance? Rutgers University Professor Jeffrey Shandler, the Institute's Senior Fellow, explored such questions in a lecture titled “Interrogating the Index: Or, Reading the Archive against the Grain,” which gave a fresh look at the archive as more than a repository for testimony.

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