Academic Discussions & Lectures

2010/03/26: Testimonies: Emotions & Balance

Language: English

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. While many participants were eager to regulate student emotionality in order to ensure an understanding of the larger historical events and a critical distance from the experience of the survivors, others argued that emotion can be a highly useful tool to awaken students empathy and understanding of their past and present surroundings.

This session is moderated by Beth Meyerowitz (Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California) and includes Carolyn Ellis (Professor of Communications and Sociology, University of South Florida), Sharon Gillerman (Adjunct Associate Professor, History, Director of the Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Jewish History, Hebrew Union College), and Michael Renov (Professor of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California). Panelists discussing the following topics:

  • How do students respond emotionally to testimony? How do faculty strike a healthy balance of providing a safe place to emote while maintaining a critical evaluation of content?
  • How do the emotions of the interviewee and the response of the interviewer influence the narrative?
  • What are the emotional effects or repercussions of using survivor testimonies in the classroom? How does emotionality affect the learning process?
MORE CLIPS...
  • 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 He asks whether testimonies and memoirs bring us closer than other kinds of historical documents to understanding what people went through.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.

  • April 16, 2012: Dr. Yehuda Bauer, one of the foremost authorities on the subject of the Holocaust, made an exclusive trip to Los Angeles to give the Institute's inaugural Yom Hashoah lecture. Bauer, who is the Institute's scholar-in-residence, discussed the roots of genocide and realistic approaches to overcoming it.

  • April 19, 2012: For the Institute's Yom HaShoah Commemoration Event on Thursday, April 19, 2012, Father Patrick Desbois, a Catholic priest and author of The Holocaust by Bullets, gave a keynote address discussing his field research on identifying sites of mass executions in Ukraine. Students, community members, faculty, and staff gathered for a moving evening, which also included readings by USC students, live music, a candle lighting, and prayer.

  • September 10, 2010: the USC Shoah Foundation Institute hosted a panel discussion that addressed the role of testimony in the process of national mourning, transitional justice, and memorialization.

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