Academic Discussions & Lectures

2014/11/16 International Conference Panel: "Digital Archives and Teaching About Genocide"

Language: English

Digital Archives such as the VHA have unbounded teaching potential. The focus of this panel is on how putting such archives to pedagogical use presents unique challenges for instructors, but also innovative opportunities for students to engage with visual testimony. The panelists will explore the themes of creating a dialogue between the student and the testimony through repeated exposure, editing and understanding narratives. 

Chair: Todd Presner, Ph.D.

Christina Isabel Brüning

DJ Johnson, M.F.A.

Roy Schwartzman, Ph.D.

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  • Digital Archives such as the VHA have unbounded teaching potential. The focus of this panel is on how putting such archives to pedagogical use presents unique challenges for instructors, but also innovative opportunities for students to engage with visual testimony. The panelists will explore the themes of creating a dialogue between the student and the testimony through repeated exposure, editing and understanding narratives. 

    Chair: Todd Presner, Ph.D.

    Christina Isabel Brüning

    DJ Johnson, M.F.A.

    Roy Schwartzman, Ph.D.

  • Specific places in genocide histories occupy different psychological spaces for survivors, witnesses, and visitors. When a place is preserved, or restored for the purpose of memorialization it is inherently transformed. This panel explores various aspects of this transformation: preparation, planning, execution, and consequences. The themes of memory, identity, and narrative are investigated in the creation of exhibitions and museum spaces that are also touristic landmarks.

    Chair: Marianne Hirsch, Ph.D.

    Edyta Gawron, Ph.D.

    András Lénart, Ph.D.

  • As time continues to separate listeners from the recounting of events what is the role of new technology in ensuring the voices of first hand witnesses are heard? The focus of this panel is on how new media technology prompts a rethinking of approaches to remembrance. How can new media re-contextualize or enhance the experience of the listener? What new tools are available to academics? What new or unheard voices will become available?

    Chair: Johanna Blakley, Ph.D. 

    Rachel Baum, Ph.D. 

    Aya Yadlin-Segal

    Paris Papamichos Chronakis, Ph.D.

  • Once events are recorded in media it becomes a challenge to control or anticipate how that media will be used. Some voices become dominant while others fade out of memory. How is a contextualized narrative produced or reconciled? How do academics make sense of media that was created with differing methodologies or research practices? The research of this panel focuses on cases that elucidate these challenges. 

    Chair: Geoffrey Robinson, Ph.D.

    Stef Scagliola, Ph.D.

    Amy Rothschild, J.D.

    Viola Lasmana

  • The research of these panelists sheds light on various challenges in mediating oral histories. Is it possible to mediate oral histories in an archive and respect the authenticity and nuance of individual narratives that fall into a larger narrative, for instance in an archive? Questions of translation, distortion, and interview methodology are explored to varying degrees by the work of these presenters. Is it possible to convey specific emotions across cultures, language, and identity?

    Chair: Karen Jungblut

    Peg LeVine, Ph.D., Ed.D.

    Mark Zaurov, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Jared McBride, 2014-2015 recipient of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research's Douglas and Margee Greenberg Research Fellowship discusses how oral history and testimony can be integrated with existing archival documents to recreate a micro-level history of the Holocaust in western Ukraine.

  • November 11, 2014:   How can analyses of Holocaust witnessing be approached in spatial terms? Simone Gigliotti's lecture drew primarily on the USC Shoah Foundation testimony of two Holocaust-era witnesses with postwar profiles of testimony giving—a slave laborer in a death brigade, and a ghetto internee who survived on false papers. Gigliotti uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to render the witness testimony in spatial terms.

  • July 24, 2014: Harry Reicher, Professor of Law at University of Pennsylvania and USC Shoah Foundation's inaugural Rutman Teaching Fellow, utilized his fellowship to collect Holocaust survivor testimony content he could utilize in his classes, which currently make liberal use of multimedia content.

    Featuring historical footage, Nazi propaganda film, modern cinema clips, and Visual History Archive testimony, Reicher's lecture provided an overview of the Nazi legal system and demonstrated the value of film in teaching this subject.

  • May 9, 2014:  Earlier this year, Dajani made headlines when Palestinian and Israeli media reported on the trip to Poland he took with thirty Palestinian students, in which he brought the students to Auschwitz and other concentration camps to learn about the Holocaust. Palestinian media attacked him, accusing him of attempting to brainwash his students or turn them into Zionists, and he was fired by his union.

  • March 28, 2013:  The Student Voices short film contest enables USC students to join the conversation about genocide and human rights by using the Visual History Archive to craft visual arguments around these topics. The top films were screened at a special event hosted by the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Following the screening, Stephen D. Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation, moderated a discussion with the judges, including Ari Sandel, who won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Short Film for West Bank Story.

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