November was an exciting month here at the Center, most prominently featuring our three-day international conference, “New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison.” The successful conference, which surprisingly appears to have been the only international academic conference to mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, was attended by up to 100 people daily and viewed on the livestream by over 400 people. Scholars representing a variety of disciplines from universities across the world gathered together to present new exciting research on the pogrom and its impact around the world. We were honored to have several Kristallnacht survivors in attendance at the conference. See below for a summary of the conference highlights and a link to the videos from the conference.
The conference was not our only event in November. 2018-2019 Center Research Fellow Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester) delivered his public campus lecture in mid-November, presenting the preliminary results of his semester-long research in the Visual History Archive. He explored how Holocaust survivors and liberators discuss corpses and exhumations in 63 testimonies in the Visual History Archive. You can read a summary and watch the video recording of his lecture below.
We are excited to announce that we are now inviting applications for two new postdoctoral research fellowships, one in collaboration with the Yale University Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies. The deadline for the Center’s 2019-2020 PhD candidate fellowships is fast approaching. Read more about these opportunities below, and please feel free to circulate them widely.
Through fellowships, conferences and other opportunities, the Center fosters the innovative interdisciplinary research of scholars from around the world. One of the goals for the Center is to develop our own research programs so that we not only support innovative studies of other scholars, but actively contribute original research to advancing Holocaust and genocide studies. In this newsletter, we are highlighting the Center’s first original research project that analyzes the often-overlooked effects of engaging with testimony of mass violence, be it for the interviewer and videographer on the spot or, later, for scholars studying these materials. The project is spearheaded by Martha Stroud, the Center’s Associate Director and Senior Research Officer, and Beth Meyerowitz, Professor of Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at USC. Read more about the project below.
In the weeks ahead, I will be traveling to Washington DC for a meeting of the Academic Committee at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Martha Stroud will be traveling to Boston, MA for the annual Association for Jewish Studies conference, where she will host an ongoing exhibit introducing scholars to the Visual History Archive and participate in a roundtable about research with testimony.
As we wrap up the semester, I wish you all the best for the holiday season.
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 Center’s 2018 international conference was held November 5-7, 2018 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. The conference convened 22 scholars from five countries (the United States, Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United Kingdom). The scholars represented various academic disciplines, including history, literature, philosophy and religion, film and cultural studies, French, political science, and Jewish studies.
Surprisingly, it appears to have been the only international academic conference to mark the 80th anniversary of this fateful event of November 1938, during which Nazis and ordinary Germans murdered more than a hundred Jews, destroyed thousands of synagogues, Jewish institutions, stores and homes across Germany. 30,000 Jewish men were incarcerated in concentration camps.
Topics discussed included new groundbreaking research about the violent event itself; the appropriate terms for it; the vast and widespread destruction of private homes; gendered violence against mixed marriages; how the pogrom was perceived and discussed amongst journalists, diplomats, Jewish organizations, and Jewish communities around the world; how people reacted to it -- including resistance, protest, and complicity -- in Germany and abroad (including the US and China); as well as real and imagined parallels to Kristallnacht in recent global history, such as the Gujarat pogrom against Muslims in India and anti-African violence in Tel Aviv.
With as much time dedicated to discussion as to the presentations themselves, the conference presenters and audience (a mix of faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members, including a couple of survivors of Kristallnacht) engaged in lively and in-depth discussions over the three days of the conference. Seven distinguished scholars from USC, nearby universities, and universities in the UK and Germany moderated these discussions. Between 60 and 100 people attended the conference daily. The conference livestream attracted over 400 viewers.
The conference was 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, and 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.
In addition to videos of all the conference presentations and discussions being posted permanently on the conference website, selected papers from the conference will be published in the 2019 volume of the Casden Institute Annual Review book series, published by Purdue University Press and co-edited by Steve Ross and Wolf Gruner.
Watch complete videos of the conference proceedings here.
Read a summary of the conference here.
Read profiles of the presenters and chairs here.
“Corpses of the Holocaust”
Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, UK)
In this lecture, 2018-2019 Center Research Fellow Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, UK) explored the ways in which Holocaust survivors and camp liberators discuss their experiences with corpses, human remains and exhumations during and after the Holocaust.
He considered themes relating to the treatment of corpses such as the processes of collective and individual exhumations, the role and modification of religious rituals and the lack of discussion of “materiality” in Holocaust studies. He argued that studying the material aftermath of genocide can complicate the field’s understanding of memory, the politics of collective commemoration and reconciliation. This project originated out of a larger collective comparative project on the treatment of human remains of mass violence, which this renowned scholar codirected from 2012 to 2016.
Read more about Professor Dreyfus here.
Watch the lecture and read a summary here.
Center Research Project investigates impact of engaging with testimony
The Center is proud to undertake its first original research project, a study investigating the range of impacts of engaging with genocide or mass violence survivor testimony. Center Associate Director and Senior Research Officer Martha Stroud and USC Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine Beth Meyerowitz are spearheading the project. They are collaborating to interview and survey people who have engaged with such testimony — from interviewers andvideographers to indexers and scholars, to name a few — in order to identify patterns in how people are affected by these testimonies, not only psychologically but humanistically, and how they cope with the impacts of documenting or watching hours of difficult narratives about mass violence. They hope that the findings of their research can contribute to a discussion and process of developing best practice guidelines to prepare those who engage with testimony of mass violence in the future, not only interviewers, scholars, and the other roles they’re exploring, but even journalists or lawyers for war crimes trials.
Read more about the research project here.
In November, Center Director Wolf Gruner and Associate Director Martha Stroud traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for the Lessons & Legacies XV conference, the biggest international Holocaust conference, held biannually, where Professor Gruner presented on his research on Jewish reactions to Nazi persecution in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia and Martha conducted outreach for the Visual History Archive (VHA). Both were struck by how many papers throughout the conference featured or included survivor testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, a sign of the increasing use of audiovisual testimony as a source in scholarship.
Later in the month, VHA Program Coordinator Badema Pitic delivered a paper on her research on genocide commemoration through music in Bosnia at the USC conference Reconstructing National Identity Post-Conflict.
The Center hosted students from a USC undergraduate Spanish course on visual art and archives for an introduction to the VHA’s Guatemala testimony collection. Also in November, another faculty member from the USC Department of Spanish and Portuguese visited the Center for an in-depth introduction to the VHA.
In December, Martha will travel to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in the roundtable session “Unlocking Holocaust Testimony: Scholarship, Teaching, and Public History in the Digital Age” at the Association for Jewish Studies’ annual conference. She will also host an outreach exhibit at the conference to introduce attendees to the Visual History Archive.
February 12, 2019 at 12PM, Doheny Memorial Library 241
Public lecture by Lukas Meissel, 2018-2019 Greenberg Research Fellow, on photography in concentration camps
March 28, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus
Public lecture by Gabor Toth, 2018-2019 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, on his digital transcript reader tool
April 11, 2019 – Further details to follow
Save the date for a public lecture by the 2019 Shapiro Scholar in Residence
April 16, 2019 at 4PM, USC Main Campus
Public lecture by Danielle Willard-Kyle, 2018-2019 Center Graduate Research Fellow, on refugees in Italian Displaced Persons camps
April 23, 2019 at 12PM, Doheny Memorial Library 241
Public lecture by Bieke Van Camp, 2018-2019 Katz Research Fellow in Genocide Studies, on "the engima of survival" in concentration camps
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 Cambodian Genocide Collection. In November 2018, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan -- the two most senior Khmer Rouge leaders still alive today -- were found guilty of genocide in the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
In 2017, the USC Shoah Foundation established the Cambodian Genocide collection in its Visual History Archive. Although containing only five testimonies, the collection of oral histories of Cambodian genocide survivors now residing in California, United States is a significant addition to the archive. The addition of this collection resulted in 107 new indexing terms in the Visual History Archive relating specifically to the Cambodian genocide.
The five testimonies are in the Khmer and English languages (two are in Khmer), and four of them are by female survivors. In 2009, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), a Cambodian NGO focused on the research and record of the Democratic Kampuchea period of Cambodian history, recorded the first two testimonies in the Khmer language. The DC-Cam staff visited the Institute in the spring of the same year, during which time the Foundation supported their efforts to collect survivor testimonies. The USC Shoah Foundation recorded another testimony in English in Los Angeles in 2011. Following her residency at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research as the Center’s inaugural Center Research Fellow, Professor Peg LeVine (Australia) recorded the last two testimonies in 2015.
Future collection of testimonies by Cambodian genocide survivors relies on fundraising.
Call for Papers
2019-2020 Research Fellowships for PhD Candidates:
Margee and Douglas Greenberg Research Fellowship
Robert J. Katz Research Fellowship in Genocide Studies
Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites applications for its three research fellowships for advanced-standing PhD candidates. Each fellowship provides $4,000 support and will be awarded to an outstanding advanced-standing PhD candidate from any discipline for dissertation research focused on testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other USC resources. Each recipient will be required to spend one month in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Deadline for applications is December 15th, 2018.
For more details, click here.
USC-Yale Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Libraries and the University of Southern California Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative invite applications from postdoctoral scholars for their 2019-2020 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The fellowship will be awarded to an outstanding postdoctoral scholar from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the comparative analysis of testimonies by Holocaust survivors who gave interviews to both the Fortunoff Video Archive and the USC Shoah Foundation. There are over 1,000 survivors who gave interviews to both archives. (Potential comparisons include not only the content of the testimonies, but also the interview process, methodology, etc.) The recipient will be expected to split the time of the residency between Yale and USC. The fellowship offers a salary of $50,000, medical benefits, as well as a fixed amount for moving expenses between New Haven and Los Angeles. The chosen fellow will be expected to provide each institution with fresh research perspectives and to play a role in each institution’s activities. To conclude the fellowship period, during Spring 2020, the fellow will have the opportunity to present their research at an event that will be organized in partnership between the two institutions
Deadline for applications is February 28, 2019.
For more details, click here.
2019-2020 Center Junior Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites applications from postdoctoral scholars for its 2019-2020 Center Junior Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The fellowship offers an annual salary of $70,000, plus fringe benefits and will be awarded to an outstanding junior postdoctoral scholar from any discipline who will advance genocide research through the use of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other USC resources. The chosen fellow will teach one course during the fellowship period in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and will be expected to provide the Center with fresh research perspectives, to play a role in Center activities, and to give a public lecture during his or her stay.
Deadline for applications is February 28, 2019.
For more details, click here.