We began February with a lecture by two of our 2017 USC summer research fellows, who discussed their research findings and experiences working with the Visual History Archive (VHA). We ended the month with a lecture by esteemed international law scholar Philippe Sands. The lecture was organized in collaboration with the Gould School of Law International Human Rights Clinic and cosponsored by many campus partners. Finally, we welcomed our 2017-2018 Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies, Kate Brackney, a PhD candidate in History at Yale University who will be in residence at the Center until the end of March and will research “otherworldliness” in Holocaust testimony. (Read more about it below.)
As we reported in last month’s newsletter, leading Holocaust scholar Christopher Browning will serve as the Center’s 2017-2018 Shapiro Scholar in Residence. We are excited now to announce the date of his talk, which is scheduled for March 29th. Professor Browning’s lecture on the use of testimony in his Holocaust research is one of several events scheduled for the month, which also includes a lecture by our Katz Research Fellow Kate Brackney. (Read more about our upcoming events below.)
We are honored to announce a new endowed research fellowship -- the Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship -- that will support USC undergraduate and graduate student research focusing on the VHA and/or other related and unique USC resources and collections. Research fellowships are a vital way for the Center to support and stimulate innovative interdisciplinary research and to energize scholars to deeply engage with the Holocaust and genocide survivor testimonies of the VHA. (Read more about our current fellowship opportunities below.)
We thank you for your continued support of the Center.
Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research
Professor of History and Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies
“USC Research with Testimonies: Featuring the Center's Summer 2017 Fellows”
Two of the Center’s three Summer 2017 Research Fellows, Noha Ayoub and Maria Zalewska, gave presentations about the research they conducted last summer using the Visual History Archive. During her monthlong residency at the Center, undergraduate Noha Ayoub investigated the role of nationalism and the legacy of colonialism in Rwanda in the development of fictionalized state narratives against the Tutsis, ultimately leading to genocide. Graduate fellowship recipient Maria Zalewska explored testimonies that included survivors’ memories of pre-World War II spaces in Poland. In their presentations, they reflected on their experiences with the Visual History Archive and the initial results from their research.
Read more about Noha Ayoub here.
Read more about Maria Zalewska here.
Watch the event and read a summary here.
“Genocide and Crimes against Humanity under International Law: A Personal Story"
Philippe Sands (University College London)
In this lecture, Professor Philippe Sands discussed his most recent book, East West Street: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity'. He explored the history behind the development of two of the most important concepts in international law today: ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide.’ Professor Sands connected the history of these two concepts, developed by Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, with the events that overwhelmed his own family in Lviv (today Ukraine) during World War II and the untold story at the heart of the Nuremberg trial that pits the two lawyers against Hans Frank, defendant number 7, who was former Governor General of Nazi-occupied Poland and Adolf Hitler's lawyer.
More than 80 people attended the entertaining lecture, ranging from students and faculty to community members. Honored guests included Rafael Lemkin's cousin and her daughter. The event was co-organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and the USC Gould School of Law International Human Rights Clinic and cosponsored by the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, USC Center for Law, History and Culture (USC Gould School of Law), USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, the Jerome H. Louchheim School for Judaic Studies, and the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics.
Watch the lecture and read a summary here.
"What Was Unique About the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising?"
Samuel Kassow (Trinity College)
In this lecture, Professor Samuel Kassow examined the unique character of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, which was one of the most important acts of Jewish resistance and the first urban uprising in Nazi-occupied Europe. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising inspired revolts in other ghettos and in concentration camps across Europe. Professor Kassow also discussed the importance of the Oyneg Shabes Archives, which contained thousands of texts that documented the lives and experiences of the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants and were buried in milk cans and tin boxes to survive the war.
This lecture was part of the Doheny Memorial Library series “Hidden Archives - Public Struggles: Events Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” and was co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research.
Read more about Professor Kassow’s lecture here.
2017-2018 Katz Research Fellow Kathryn Brackney Begins her Residency
At the end of February, Kathryn (Kate) Brackney, a PhD candidate in History at Yale University, began her residency at the Center. During her one month residency at the Center, Kate will investigate the Visual History Archive to identify moments in testimony when Holocaust survivors characterize pre-war and post-war life as separated by a chasm, as well as moments when survivors describe themselves as inhabiting both worlds simultaneously. At the conclusion of her residency, she will deliver a lecture entitled “Phantom Geographies of the Holocaust” to discuss her research findings.
Read more about Kate here.
In February, Center founding director Wolf Gruner participated in a panel discussion about the documentary film “Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent” at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. The Center’s staff also met with PhD candidates and distinguished visitors to introduce them to the Visual History Archive and the work of the Center more broadly.
In the coming weeks, Professor Gruner will be traveling to Mexico (Universidad Iberoamericana, Universidad Autonoma Mexico City) and North Carolina (Appalachian State University, Wake Forest University, Duke University) to introduce scholars to the Visual History Archive and to present is research on individual Jewish defiance and protest. For more information about the events at Appalachian State University, click here. For more information about the events at Wake Forest University, click here.
In late March, Center staff members will be traveling to Dallas, Texas to conduct a workshop about the Visual History Archive at the University of Texas at Dallas.
March 15, 2018 at 4pm at the University of Pennsylvania
March 22, 2018 at 4 pm
March 29, 2018 at 11:30am, USC Main Campus
April 2, 2018 at 5 pm, USC Main Campus
April 3, 2018 at 7 pm, USC Main Campus
April 12, 2018 at 4pm, UCLA
April 19, 2018 at 4pm, USC Main Campus
March 8, 2018 at 4pm at UCLA
VHA Book Spotlight
In this new feature, we will highlight published research based on the testimonies in the Visual History Archive.
Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers University)
Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age: Survivors’ Stories and New Media Practices
Jeffrey Shandler’s new book focuses on the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and its testimonies as works of Holocaust remembrance. In addition to exploring the Archive’s history, form, content, and aims, Shandler uses case studies to illuminate the Archive’s potential, even beyond what its creators imagined. He addresses one of the central issues related to the VHA: the framing of video testimonies within the larger project of the USC Shoah Foundation. The many questions Shandler explores include: What are the implications of using video to document someone’s life history? What impact does using digital media to catalog, index, and disseminate these videos have on the ways they can be engaged? From watching and listening to Holocaust survivors tell their life stories, what can be learned about memory practices, both old (telling stories) and new (screening videos, searching digital databases), as well as their interrelation? Ultimately, Shandler argues for the Archive and its architecture as exemplars of the digital humanities and examines the challenges, tensions, and possibilities of the Visual History Archive and how Holocaust memory is mediated in the digital age.
If you would like your book to be considered for this feature, please let us know.
Call for Applications
Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship 2018
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites research proposals from USC undergraduate and graduate students for the inaugural Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship. The fellowship provides support for a USC undergraduate student or USC graduate student doing research focused on the testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and/or other related USC resources and collections during the summer of 2018. The fellowship is open to USC students of all disciplines. Deadline to apply is April 10, 2018. For more details, click here.
Summer 2018 Undergraduate Research Fellowship
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites research proposals from USC undergraduate students for its 2018 Summer Research Fellowships, which provide support for USC undergraduates doing research focused on the testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and/or other related USC resources and collections during the summer of 2018. Deadline to apply is March 31, 2018. For more details, click here.
Summer 2018 Faculty and Graduate Student Research Fellowships
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites research proposals from USC faculty members and graduate students for its Summer 2018 Research Fellowships, which provide support for USC faculty and USC graduate students doing research focused on the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and/or other unique USC resources and collections during the summer of 2018. Deadline to apply is March 31, 2018. For more details, click here.
Call for Research Support
Lucid Collaborative Research
USC Shoah Foundation and Lucid Collaborative, a multi-disciplinary group specializing in monitoring and evaluation of programs to measure their effectiveness, have initiated a baseline study to gain insight into current levels of awareness and use of the Visual History Archive (VHA) among the Institute’s key audiences – scholars, educators, organizations and community members – to inform ongoing efforts to increase global access.
As part of the study, Lucid Collaborative will soon launch an online survey to solicit feedback from our key audiences. Scholars and educators who use oral histories and VHA in their teaching or research will be invited to participate.
The survey will be online and take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Responses will be anonymized, and each person receiving the survey invitation will have the option to decline participation. The invitations will be sent via email in early April.
Please help us further our mission by participating in this important effort.