Mishy Lesser (Learning Director, Upstander Project)
In a new short film, Bounty, Penobscot parents and their children celebrate their survival by reacting to a government-issued bounty proclamation that promised large sums of money for colonial settlers to hunt, scalp, and murder their ancestors. Dr. Mishy Lesser, learning director of Upstander Project, will introduce Bounty and will be joined during the Q&A by Clark students Lamisa Muksitu and Penelope Kogan who collaborated with her as summer interns on the teacher’s guide that accompanies the film.
Felipe Milanez (Professor at the Institute for Humanities, Arts and Sciences Professor Milton Santos and the Multidisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Culture and Society, of the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.)
This presentation investigates the relationships between the physical destruction of humans and of nature in the Brazilian Amazon. It pays particular attention to the extreme situation of the remaining indigenous peoples in isolation. Historically, the Amazon has given refuge to massacre survivors and provided the means to rebuild worlds destroyed in wars of conquest. The capture of territories and the control of resources are perennial engines of contemporary genocide perpetrated against indigenous and traditional communities in Brazil, despite the fundamental rights established by the Federal Constitution of 1988, a contradiction which has accelerated with the rise of fascist military authoritarianism and the disproportional effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on indigenous and traditional peoples. Resisting genocide and defending forests, rivers and the ecology of life are deeply interconnected.
Performer: Cantor Jonathan Kohan (Visiting Scholar, Strassler Center; Visiting Cantorial soloist, Temple Emanuel Sinai; Coordinator, Cantorial School of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary; former fellow, Yad Vashem) and Brett Maguire, Pianist
Strassler Center’s Visiting Scholar Jonathan Kohan presents a selection that portrays the anguishes, hopes and struggles of the European Jews in their darkest hour.
Piano: Brett Maguire
Emanuel Kreike (Professor of History; Acting Director, African Studies, Princeton University)
Emmanuel Kreike teaches African, environmental, and global history at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection between war, environment, and society using a comparative and global approach. His recently published book, Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime against Humanity and Nature (Princeton University Press, 2021), highlights the impact of 16th-20th century conventional war on society and environment. Scorched Earth is the first volume in what he hopes will become the Environcide Trilogy. The second book project on modern (counter) insurgency wars is in an advanced stage and he has laid the groundwork for a third book project on the impact of the violence of the slave trade on the Atlantic World.
Mark Levene (Emeritus fellow at the University of Southampton UK, and a long-time environmental and peace activist. He writes, among other things, about genocide, European and Middle Eastern nationalisms and “minority” relations, as well as anthropogenic climate change. He is founder of Rescue!History.)
In part by way of personal life history, Mark Levene will explore how the human species, or more precisely its hegemonic elements, has put itself on a path to planetary obliteration. He will seek then with the audience to consider what might be done to put us on a kinder, gentler path to ensure our own survival and that of future generations.
A. Dirk Moses (Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author and editor of books and essays on genocide and intellectual history, and is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research)
Genocide scholar Dirk Moses (Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights at the University of North Carolina), outlined the case for why genocide is a problematic concept in international law. The term began to trouble him as an Australian who pondered whether to define the victimization of its indigenous population as genocide but found the concept too narrow to fit the crimes of its colonial government. Given the Holocaust as the paradigmatic case, very few events actually meet the genocidal standard despite many episodes of civilian destruction on a mass scale. To illustrate the point, Moses highlighted the fate of a Yemeni family killed by a Saudi missile attack. According to legal rationales, the members of this Yemeni family were collateral damage of a military objective and not genocide victims because the intent was to defeat rather than to destroy their community.
Join us as we welcome author Gail Weiss Gaspar author of, Carrying My Father’s Torch: From Holocaust Trauma to Transformation, and her father Marty for a discussion about the memoir and honoring the past
Pamela Steiner (Ed.D., Senior Fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University)
Dr. Pamela Steiner, a Senior Fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a practitioner whose research is dedicated to promoting reconciliation between opposing sides in conflict situations. At the invitation of Professor Taner Akçam, she discussed her timely new book, released in the aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as President Biden’s April 2021 statement acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Steiner argues that a major obstacle to building a stable future in the region is the collective historical trauma that remains unresolved among Armenians, Turks, and Azerbaijanis. A peaceful outcome to the entrenched ethno-political tensions requires cooperation by people of conflicting sides, despite ongoing sensitivities and difficulties. Drawing on practices from her work in psychotherapy, she promotes conflict resolution based on historical analysis and psychological research.
Prof. Amos Goldberg is the Jonah M. Machover Chair in Holocaust Studies and the Head of the Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His recent book is: Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing During the Holocaust (Indiana University Press 2018.) He is now finishing a book on the Warsaw Ghetto.
Bashir Bashir is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Political Science, and Communication at the Open University of Israel and a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He is the co-editor of The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Engagement in Palestine and Beyond (Columbia University Press, 2020).
Professors Bashir Bashir (Department of Sociology, Political Science, and Communication at the Open University of Israel and Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute) and Amos Goldberg (Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) are co-editors of a volume that explores the fraught relationship between the Holocaust and the Nakba. Their book challenges the dichotomous approach to these national traumas and proposes the construction of a new narrative that recognizes the foundational importance of these events to both Jewish and Palestinian history: the near total extermination of European Jewry during the Holocaust followed by the expulsion of the Palestinian population upon the creation of the state of Israel during the Nakba (the catastrophe).
Speaker: Sabrineh Ardalan (Clinical Professor, Harvard Law School and Director, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program)
Following the Second World War, nations recognized the need to establish protections for vulnerable people who were endangered in their home countries, as had occurred on such a vast scale during the Holocaust. The resulting multilateral treaty and its protocols, known as the Refugee Convention (or the 1951 Geneva Convention), defined refugee status and the rights of asylum seekers. Signing the refugee convention created the responsibility for each signatory to safeguard vulnerable individuals and provided the basis for nations to establish systems to manage such cases. Sabrineh Ardalan, a Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School and Director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, explained her work teaching and training law students on the legal processes for seeking asylum and humanitarian protections. Sponsored by the Strassler Center as part of its Especially for Students series, in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Society and the Pre-law Society, her Zoom talk offered a practical overview of legal procedures involved in navigating the immigration system on behalf of clients who have come to the US from around the globe.
Speaker: James Waller (Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College)
Escalating political violence in the United States raises red flags regarding the erosion of democratic ideals and reveals growing distrust in political and governmental processes. Had these symptoms developed elsewhere, risk analysts would have instituted precautions and the international community would have increased surveillance of the situation. Governance in the US has becoming increasingly fragile and, while not yet a failing state, its democratic institutions are in decline according to James Waller, an expert on genocide prevention and Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. Invited to deliver the annual Asher Family Lecture, Waller addressed the causes and factors for mass violence.
Speaker: Simone Schweber (Goodman Professor of Education and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Simone Schweber, Goodman Professor of Education and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has dedicated her academic career to researching how we teach and learn about the Holocaust. With the expansion of its academic agenda to include issues of Holocaust education, the Strassler Center invited Schweber to discuss some of the challenges that pertain to teaching in our current complicated times. In her virtual lecture, sponsored by the Legacy Heritage Fund, Schweber reasoned that Holocaust education is essentially malleable. In carefully calibrated language, Schweber described how education is open to the imprints of those who teach it, reflecting current political needs and goals.
Speakers: Natalia Aleksiun (Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Touro College), Leora Kahn (PROOF: Media for Social Justice) and Noha Aboueldahab (Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution)
How victims fleeing violence, conflict, and forced migration cope with displacement is salient to the work of Professors Anita Fábos (IDCE) and Frances Tanzer (Strassler Center). The Strassler Center co-sponsored their jointly moderated webinar examining the intersection between research and activism with the Higgins School for Humanities, the department of International Development, Community and Environment, and the programs in Media, Culture & the Arts, and Peace and Conflict Studies. In discussing the role of activism in historical and current stories of displacement, the panelists were in dialogue with each other in showing how testimonies amplify voices seeking to achieve justice and positive change. They began by explaining their academic and professional trajectories.
Speakers: Ousmane Power-Greene (Clark University), Carl Suddler (Emory University), and Anne Gray Fischer (University of Texas-Dallas)
A tidal wave of social and political unrest during 2020 culminated in widespread demands for change. Protests in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor inspired debates and movements that drew attention to the long struggle to end police brutality. Systemic racism in America is in not just a contemporary issue as the title of this panel affirmed. Professor Frances Tanzer invited three scholars to address the historical issues that thread through current conversations about race and policing.
Speaker: Adama Dieng (Special Adviser, Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSASPG))
The Genocide Against the Tutsi took place in 1994, when nearly one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed in just 100 days in the small, land-locked country of Rwanda. What lessons can we learn about UN intervention, genocide prevention, and the power of humanity 25 years after the world’s tragedy? From personal insights based on Adama Dieng’s rich career in public and international service, he will discuss how we can engage to create a world free of identity-based violence.
Speakers: Christian Parenti (author, journalist and Associate Professor of Economics, John Jay College) and Roy Scranton (author and Assistant Professor of English, University of Notre Dame)
A powerful shift in American collective awareness of the climate crisis has occurred thanks to scientific reports released in fall 2018, a new level of attention in the media, and lived experiences of wildfires, drought, heavy rains, crop failures, severe cold and more.
Yet, as a culture, we live in a state of cognitive dissonance, continuing to behave as if we are not destroying our planetary home, and facing the gravest existential threat humanity has known.
Beyond the ecological dangers, competition for scarce resources and climate-connected intentional human genocides are on the rise – in the short- and long-term, and in both the South and the North. In fact, in some sense the entire climate phenomenon can be seen as an auto-genocide.
What is it we know? What do we call it? How do we understand an expanding definition of genocide? How do we own that knowledge fully? What does it portend? Where do we go from there?
We will explore these questions with our guests, who bring broad perspectives to these issues, including journalistic and military experiences in war-torn regions of the world.
Speakers: Radwan Ziadeh (Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace), Ora Szekely (Clark University), Noha Aboueldahab (Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution)
The Syrian conflict has claimed the lives of a half-million people since 2011. Nearly five million more people have fled the country. The panelists will explain the key drivers of the conflicts and feature the efforts of local human rights organizations to document the atrocities committed. Discussion will focus on the fact-finding methods the organizations use now to lay the groundwork for transitional justice initiatives in the future.
Speakers: Raffi Bedrosyan (civil engineer, concert pianist, and author of Trauma and Resilience: Armenians in Turkey – hidden, not hidden and no longer hidden (2018)) and George Aghjayan (Director of the Armenian Historical Archives and the chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of the Eastern United States )
The 1915 Genocide led to mass deportations and the deaths of more than a million Armenians. In addition, forced assimilation and Islamization of Armenian women and children resulted in ‘hidden Armenians’ who became thoroughly Turkified/Kurdified. After one hundred years, the descendants of genocide survivors have learned about their heritage. Genealogy has helped them to discover family members and relatives. In this panel discussion, Raffi Bedrosyan introduces the phenomenon of Muslim Armenians and George Aghjayan presents how genealogical and historical research can help hidden Armenians discover their roots.
A symposium to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Strassler Center’s doctoral program and to celebrate the long-term leadership of founding Strassler Center Director and inaugural Rose Professor Debórah Dwork gathers graduates to respond to the theme of agency in the Holocaust and Genocide. Agency addresses the choices that individuals have, their decisions and actions, as well as the consequence of these actions. The symposium participants, all of them former advisees of Debórah Dwork, will present diverse research projects that explore agency from multiple perspectives including victims, perpetrators, rescue, youth, gender, sexuality, education, religious observance, identity, humanitarianism, and memory.
President David Angel
Debórah Dwork and the Strassler Center
Mary Jane Rein
Americans in Dangerous Territory: Relief and Rescue Operations during the Nazi Years
Inaugural Rose Professor and Strassler Center Founding Director
A number of Americans — Quakers, Unitarians, secular people, Jews — traveled to points around the globe to offer relief, and to rescue victims of Nazi Germany and its allies. Who were these intrepid souls who, unlike so many of their fellow citizens, perceived possibilities for action where others saw none? What did they accomplish, and how did they manage these feats? Exploring the experience of the Americans who undertook these initiatives, Debórah Dwork opens a window on the derring-do and the daily grind of desperate rescue operations.
The Strassler Center and the Future of Holocaust Studies
Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Strassler Professor of Holocaust History
Speaker: Ian Buruma (Paul Williams Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, and Journalism, Bard College)
Buruma will discuss how history affects contemporary politics, focusing on memories of World War II. Scholars have written extensively about the ways in which the Germans and Japanese have dealt with their darkest years. Less attention has been paid to how history is remembered on the other side, in countries that were the victims of Nazi or fascist powers, or in countries that were victorious. The problems of dealing incompletely or dishonestly with a tainted past are well known. Buruma will focus instead on the negative effects of recalling only victimhood or triumph. The discussion will be global in scope, encompassing examples in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Conference: E Pluribus Unum? Memory Conflicts, Democracy, and Integration
Comparative perspectives on memories of racism, slavery, and genocide in the United
States and the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe will be the focus of
E Pluribus Unum? Participants will inquire into the tension between memory conflicts and processes and problems of social cohesion, integration, and identity. Can the US learn from societies that have mustered the memory of such events to strengthen inclusion and diversity in the present? Processes of healing from traumatic pasts are reversible at any time. Why can’t the US overcome its pernicious tendencies toward discrimination, violence, and exclusion? Why are 150-year-old symbols of slavery and oppression—confederate flags and monuments—kept alive, even glorified, in the present? Intensifying conflicts over memory raise concerns about the stability of democracies, which depend upon pluralism, competition, different ideologies, interests, and identities.
Speaker: Frances Tanzer (Visiting Assistant Professor, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies)
After 1945, Austrians deemed images of pre-Nazi Vienna essential for projects to re-imagine Viennese, Austrian, and European identities at home and abroad. Yet, the celebration of a world in which the Jewish minority had been central ensured that representations of Jewish absence would be constitutive of postwar Viennese cultural identities. Focusing on postwar exhibitions of Viennese modernism, Tanzer will explore the paradoxical role that Jews and representations of “Jews” played in the construction of post-Nazi cultural identities in Central Europe. At the heart of Vienna’s postwar cultural reorientation was a contradiction: nostalgia for the pre-Nazi Jewish presence in the city and a population of postwar Austrians who had little desire for the return the Jewish population. Tanzer reveals philosemitism and representations of Jewish absence as crucial to ongoing discussions of national identity and European integration in Vienna, Austria, and beyond.
Speaker: Benjamin Korstvedt (Professor of Music, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Clark University)
During the 1930s, the legacy of the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) became an object of intense political and ideological attention as the Nazi movement sought, in effect, to annex his music. This talk will outline why and how this came about and also consider what this episode reveals about the fate of music and the historical record in a totalitarian culture.
Speaker: Professor Hannah Pollin-Galay (Senior Lecturer, Department of Literature; Advisor, Yiddish MA Program, Tel Aviv University)
The specter of multilingualism has haunted the study of Holocaust testimony for decades. Several factors have stretched the linguistic spread of Holocaust witnessing: the fall of the Soviet Union rendered archives in lesser known languages more accessible; organizations like the Shoah Foundation began recording stories beyond American borders and audio-video technology allowed languages more typically reserved for oral discourse to be recorded for academic study. Having enabled witnesses to tell their stories in this array of tongues, scholars and institutions now face the task of interpreting, using and curating this polyglot material. What can we learn from this encounter between languages? As a case study, this lecture will focus on the testimonies of Lithuanian Jewish survivors and their testimonies in Yiddish, Hebrew and English.
Opening Panel: From Abdul Hamid II to the Genocide: Continuity and Rupture
Speakers: Ronald Suny (William H. Sewell, Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago) and Stephan Astourian (Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley
26 October 2018 | 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.| Higgins Lounge
Conference: The Abdul Hamid Era and Beyond: Massacres and Reform, Rupture and Continuity
The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, one of the most polarizing figures in Ottoman history. This conference will examine key aspects of the Abdul Hamid period (1876-1909) and its aftermath by taking a closer look at policies toward Christians and Armenians in particular and the significant and large-scale massacres committed against them, the impact of reforms (both those initiated by Abdul Hamid and those attempted to be imposed by the Great Powers) on the policies towards these same groups, and the continuities or discontinuities with the catastrophic final years of the Ottoman Empire that saw the almost total annihilation of the Armenians and other Christians through genocide and other forms of mass violence.
Speaker: Mishy Lesser (Learning Director of the Upstander Project and Educational Fellow at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut)
For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.
Co-Sponsored by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Center for Gender, Race and Area Studies; the departments of English, History, Political Science and Higgins School of Humanities.
Audio not available
Screening: Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross
Speakers: Michael Ross ’93 (Attorney, Prince, Lobel, Tye LLP and former Boston City Councilor) and Roger Lyons (Writer/Producer/Director)
A survivor of 10 concentration camps, Steve Ross immigrated to Boston after the Holocaust. He became a civic leader and the driving force behind the creation of the Boston Holocaust Memorial. We will screen the film Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross, which shows how one remarkable Polish man found a second life in America, dedicating himself to helping people. Clark alumnus Michael Ross, whom President Obama appointed to serve on the United States Holocaust Museum Council, and Roger Lyons will introduce the film. Ross will discuss his father’s incredible journey drawing upon his memoir about the Holocaust, Broken Glass: My Story of Finding Hope in Hitler’s Death Camps to Inspire a New Generation.
Speaker: Mneesha Gellman (Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, at Emerson College, Boston)
Professor Gellman examines six case studies in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador to show how memory-based narratives serve as emotionally salient leverage for marginalized communities to facilitate state consideration of minority rights agendas. Shaming and claiming is a social movement tactic that binds historic violence to contemporary citizenship. Combining theory with empirics, Gellman explores how democratization shapes citizen experiences of interest representation and how memorialization processes challenge state regimes of forgetting at local, state, and international levels.
Speakers: Tun Khin (President Burmese Rohingya Organization UK), John Knaus (Associate Director for Asia, National Endowment for Democracy), Debbie Stothard (Director of Altsean-Burma and Secretary General of International Federation for Human Rights) and Matt Wells (Amnesty International Senior Crisis Advisor)
Who are the Rohingya? And why do so many people in Burma/Myanmar regard them as a threat to the nation? More than 900,000 Rohingya have taken refuge in Bangladesh after a series of attacks by the armed forces of Burma/Myanmar and Buddhist nationalists. Their plight is the fastest growing humanitarian emergency in the world. Panelists will present the historic roots of the contemporary crisis, which the UN has called a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing;” outline the broader political and military context in which the forced migration is occurring; and evaluate proposed solutions.
Speaker: Stefan Ihrig (Professor Of History At The University Of Haifa).
For Germany, the Armenian Genocide did not take place “far away in Turkey.” It was something very close to home. Relations between the German empire and the Ottoman Empire had been close since the 1890s. Since then Germany had become accustomed to excuse violence against the Armenians, mostly in distorted racial discourses. After World War I, a great genocide debate took place in Germany, centered on the Armenian Genocide. German nationalists first denied and then justified genocide in sweeping terms. The Nazis, too, came to see genocide as justifiable: In their version of history, the Armenian Genocide had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey. This also means that the Armenian Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust were not separate by great distances in time and space as is so often assumed. But what does this mean for our understanding of the bloody 20th century?
Speaker: Victoria Sanford (Anthropology Professor And Founding Director Of The Center For Human Rights And Peace Studies, Lehman College)
Drawing on 25 years of experience investigating human rights violation and genocide in Guatemala, Sanford will discuss the theory and practice of forensic exhumations, victim identification, archival and testimonial research and their interplay in legal processes and community desires for justice. She will explore the ways in which science and law and justice complement and collide with one another as investigations move forward from the field to legal courts and the court of public opinion. She will also consider the role of the researcher as both documentarian and participant in the production of history as well as legal precedence.
Sponsored by the Asher Family Fund
Speaker: Victoria Sanford, Professor And Chair Of Anthropology, And Founding Director Of The Center For Human Rights And Peace Studies, Lehman College, City University Of New York.
In cooperation with the Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, this conference provided a forum for advanced doctoral students and early post-docs to present their research projects to peers and established scholars. This interdisciplinary conference reflects a broad range of issues, concepts, and methods in current Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Speaker: Professor Taner Akçam, Robert Aram And Marianne Kaloosdian And Stephen And Marian Mugar Chair In Armenian Genocide Studies, Clark University
Clark University historian Taner Akçam has made landmark discoveries that prove the Ottoman government’s central role in planning the Armenian genocide. Despite decades of scholarly research, the scarcity of direct evidence has allowed Turkey to persist in its denial. Professor Akçam will discuss the findings published in his groundbreaking new book, Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide (2018). He will highlight a recently discovered document, a “smoking gun,”which removes the cornerstone of Turkey’s denialism. He will show that the killing orders signed by Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, which the Turkish Government has long discredited, are authentic.
Taner Akçam holds the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. An internationally recognized human rights activist, Akçam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide
Sponsored By The Strassler Center For Holocaust And Genocide Studies
Audio not Available
Speaker: Golfo Alexopoulos (Professor Of History, University Of South Florida, Tampa And Director Of The USF Institute On Russia)
Alexopoulos will discuss her new book, Illness and Inhumanity in Stalin’s Gulag, which is the first scholarly work devoted to health and medicine in Stalin’s forced labor camps. Drawing upon recently declassified Gulag archives, the book argues that the system of human exploitation in the Stalinist Gulag was willfully destructive. Stalin’s camps systematically worked prisoners to the point of near death and then discarded them en masse. The book argues that prisoner mortality in the Gulag was much greater than previously believed and that Stalin’s Gulag constituted one of the 20th century’s greatest crimes against humanity.
Speaker: Rebecca Carter-Chand (Visiting Assistant Professor, Strassler Center For Holocaust And Genocide Studies, Clark University)
In the 1930’s, the Salvation Army operated around the world. As in other countries, the German branch of this Protestant organization offered social services and a spiritual community for Germany’s urban poor and working classes, as well as large-scale humanitarian aid. How did this organization fare after the Nazi Party came to power? Carter-Chand will discuss why the Salvation Army aligned itself with the Nazi government and how it continued to operate during the war. She will situate the Salvation Army in the context of other German churches and sects, as well as recent scholarship on internationalism and the Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community).
Speaker: Owen Miller (Postdoctoral Fellow, Union College)
In the 1890s, a series of massacres targeted Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Two American Civil War veterans living in Istanbul reported on the killings, both comparing it to the violence against African Americans in their native country. One, a former Confederate general, thought reports of the Armenian killings were overblown, while the other, a former Union army soldier sounded the alarms, as tens of thousands were murdered. Dr. Owen Miller will examine these competing claims and discuss some of the underlying patterns behind mass violence against African Americans in the US and against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
Speaker: Alex Hinton, Director Of The Center For The Study Of Genocide And Human Rights, And Professor Of Anthropology And Global Affairs, Rutgers University.
During the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign in Cambodia (mid- to late-1970s), a former math teacher named Duch served as the commandant of the S-21 security center, where as many as 20,000 victims were interrogated, tortured, and executed. In the 2009 UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the prosecution painted Duch as evil, while his lawyers claimed he simply followed orders. Hinton will discuss Duch’s trial and how it might help us reconsider Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil in terms of “the banality of everyday thought.”
Speaker: Lina Sergie Attar, Karam Foundation.
What does “home” mean to a child growing up as a refugee? What kind of future do we envision for the millions of people fleeing war, searching for sanctuary, and longing to belong? In this personal talk about the Syrian humanitarian crisis and its devastating toll on children, Attar describes living through the deep layers of unimaginable loss when conflict hits home and explores innovative and meaningful ways to nurture hope in a time of despair.
Attar’s lecture is part of a two-day conference that will explore the traumatic impact of mass violence on the most vulnerable segment of society-children and youth. Experts will examine the destructive strategies and methods of the perpetrators, the suffering of the victims, their agency, their coping mechanisms, and the lasting injuries of those who survived. They will discuss these issues through the lens of three historical cases: the indigenous children of North America and Australia who were forcefully removed from their families and communities and assimilated into the white settler culture; the orphaned and destitute children who survived the Armenian Genocide; and Jewish children during the Holocaust whom the Nazis deemed dangerous due to their role in continuing the “Jewish race.”
Listen to audio from the panel on Native American Genocide with Margaret D. Jacobs, University of Nebraska and Andrew Woolford, University of Manitoba.
Listen to audio from the panel on Armenian Genocide with Nazan Maksudyan, Leibniz Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin and Nora N. Nercessian, Harvard University
Listen to audio from the panel on the Holocaust with Joanna Sliwa, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Avinoam J. Patt, University of Hartford.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies, Alan Edelman and Debbie Sosland-Edelman, and Fran Snyder and David Voremberg ’72
Speaker: Hamit Bozarslan, Director Of Studies And Professor Of History At The École Des Hautes Études En Sciences Sociales In Paris.
The wide-scale massacres of Armenians under Sultan Abulhamid (1894 – 1896) ushered in a period of mass violence that reached its acme during the Armenian Genocide. This genocide was the most brutal consequence of the articulation of Social-Darwinist theories and “Total War” practices. Far from being a “local event”, it also constituted a pattern for other 20th century genocides. It was also a decisive moment in the brutalization of Near-Eastern societies, which one-century later experienced new mass-violence and ethic/sectarian cleansings. Bozarslan will discuss the historical dimensions of the violence and place it in a long-term theoretical perspective.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies
Speaker: Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair In Jewish Studies And Professor Of History At The University Of Southern California, Los Angeles And Director, Shoah Foundation.
Wolf Gruner will introduce the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. A repository with over 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and other eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, the Rwandan, Armenian, Cambodian, and Guatemalan genocides, and the Nanjing Massacre in China. The interviews, conducted in 41 languages and 62 countries, are life histories and their subject matter covers the history and culture of the countries of the interviewees’ birth and their lives before, during, and after genocide. Gruner will describe how testimonies can enrich research and change perspectives and understanding of the Holocaust and other genocides.
Sponsored by the William P. Goldman & Brothers Foundation
The conference Emerging Expertise: Holding Accountability Accountable (6-9 April 2017) will put a diverse array of early career scholars, lawyers, policymakers, and NGO staff working on issues germane to the aftermath of mass violence into conversation with one another in order to generate novel ideas about past cases and contemporary ones. Participants will explore “accountability” as a theoretical concept, methodological concern, moral principle, legal demand, and form of ethical engagement. Such exploration is needed, as “accountability” is an empty signifier, which permits a wide array of actors to define the term in ways that advance their competing agendas. Andrea Gualde, the former National Director of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat of Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice (Argentina), will be the keynote speaker. Author and journalist David Rieff will discuss his book In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies.
Speaker: Eliisa Mailänder (Centre D’Histoire De Sciences Po, Paris)
This lecture sheds light on the lives, experiences, and violent acts carried out by a group of twenty-eight women who worked as concentration camp guards at Majdanek in occupied Poland between 1942 and 1944. None of these women were innate agents of terror. Yet, at different stages of their “careers” each complied with the destructive Nazi policies of colonization, persecution, and extermination, which empowered them to perpetrate workday violence.
National Socialism – as an ideology and modus operandi – spawned new taxonomic relationships between the sexes that are best understood by applying the categories of race, class, and gender. This intersectional approach more accurately reveals the individual responsibility of these young women, who were mostly in their twenties, in perpetrating National Socialist crimes in occupied Poland. Although the positions of authority in the camps remained firmly in the grasp of men, the case of the female camp guards at Majdanek clearly exposes that the war radically modified the relationship between the sexes in Nazi Germany: German women acquired considerable power over camp inmates and occupied civilians. These women had license to give orders and maltreat individuals – and, in some cases, to kill.
This lecture is sponsored by the William P. Goldman and Brothers Foundation
Speakers: Barbara J. Merguerian (Director, Armenian International Women’s Association), Judy Saryan (Author And Project Manager, Armenian International Women’s Association), And Dana Walrath (Independent Scholar, Artist And Writer).
Historian Barbara J. Merguerian, a founder of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), will moderate a discussion about women’s responses to the Armenian Genocide. Judy Saryan will present Zabel Yessayan’s groundbreaking work, In the Ruins: The 1909 Massacres of Armenians in Adana, Turkey. AIWA is a sponsor of the Zabel Yessayan Project, which is publishing the writings of this extraordinary Armenian author, the only woman among the Armenian intellectuals targeted for arrest and murder at the start of the Genocide. Dana Walrath will speak about her novel Like Water on Stone, a fictionalized account based on her family history during the Armenian Genocide. These works illuminate the history of the Armenians during the latter stages of the Ottoman Empire. Both books offer the point of view of women and children who are often the primary victims of mass murder and genocide.
This lecture is sponsored by the Kaloosdian Mugar Professor and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Speaker: Raz Segal (Stockton University)
Genocide in the Carpathians presents the history of Subcarpathian Rus’, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious borderland in the heart of Europe. This society of Carpatho-Ruthenians, Jews, Magyars, and Roma disintegrated first under the pressure of state building in interwar Czechoslovakia and, during World War II, from the onslaught of Hungarian occupation authorities. Charges of foreignness and disloyalty to the Hungarian state linked anti-semitism to xenophobia and national security anxieties.
Drawing on Raphael Lemkin who coined the term “genocide,” Dr. Segal argues that genocide in the region unfolded as a Hungarian policy aimed at thorough social and cultural destruction, well before the German invasion of Hungary in March 1944 and the mass deportations of Jews to Auschwitz that followed it throughout the spring and summer. This perspective reorients our view of the Holocaust not simply as a German drive for continent-wide genocide, but as a truly international campaign of mass violence, closely related to violence against non-Jews unleashed by projects of state and nation building across Europe.
This lecture is sponsored by the Raskin Young Family Fund.
Speaker: Chen Bram (Hebrew University)
This lecture discusses the crossways and intersections between histories and memories of Holocaust, Genocide and forced deportations in the Caucasus. Focusing on the Circassian Genocide of 1864, the Holocaust, and the mass deportations of Chechens, Ingush, Meskhetians and ethnic group under Stalin in 1944, Dr. Bram will examine how these connections are manifested in two recent struggles for recognition as victims: that of the Caucasus “Mountain” Jews and that of the Circassians (Adyghe). Special attention will be given to the way such crossways appear in the testimonies and accounts of Holocaust survivors from the Caucasus.
This lecture is sponsored by Dana and Yossie Hollander.
Speaker: Christopher Browning (University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill).
Dr. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ,and the author of several landmark works in the field of Holocaust history, including Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Harper Collins, 1992); and Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp (W.W. Norton, 2010). His talk will examine the history of the Starachowice labor camp in central Poland, where between 1942 and 1944 thousands of Jews were forced to work under brutal conditions to produce munitions for the German war effort. The Testimonies of the nearly three hundred camp survivors comprise some of the only evidence of the camp’s existence, and Professor Browning’s lecture will pay particular attention to the methodological challenges historians face when using survivor testimony to document the crimes of the Nazi regime.
This lecture was made possible through the generous support of Clark University alumni Judi and Lawrence Bohn. Co-sponsored by the W. Arthur Garrity Sr. Professorship in Human Nature, Ethics and Society at the College of the Holy Cross, the Philosophy Department at Worcester State University, and the Departments of History and Political Science at Clark University.
Speakers: Judy Dworkin And David Pijawka, In Conversation With Jody Emel And Thomas Kühne, Clark University.
Judy Dworkin is Head of Indian Law and Tribal Relations Practice Group for Sacks Tierney Law in Phoenix, Arizona. She is appellate justice of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council Court, judge pro tem for the Tohono O’odham Nation and special judge to the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe. She is also a solicitor to the Hualapai Tribe. She also teaches at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
David Pijawka is associate Director, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University. He is also Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. He has been involved in various community projects, including the evaluation of Scottsdale’s Green Building program and workshops on Tribal community planning.
Speaker: Garo Paylan, Armenian Deputy Of The Grand National Assembly Of Turkey.
Garo Paylan represents Istanbul as a deputy in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. He is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (known as the pro-Kurdish party) and one of the first Armenian members of Turkey’s parliament in decades. Renowned as a thorn in the side of the Turkish government, especially ultra-nationalists, Paylan has delivered several courageous parliamentary speeches including one with the picture of Armenian deputies of the Ottoman Parliament during the genocide. As a result, he has been the subject of physical attacks and hate speech.
Paylan will discuss recent political developments in Turkey, including the latest coup attempt and subsequent developments, Kurdish questions, and his personal experience as an Armenian deputy in the Turkish parliament.
8:45 am: Welcome
Thomas Kühne, Clark University
9-10 am: “The History of Violence, the Violence of History: Locating Genocide in the North American Past”
Karl Jacoby, Columbia University Listen to the audio
10:15-11:15 am: “The U.S. Legal History and the On-Going Genocide of Native Americans”
Angelique EagleWoman, University of Idaho Listen to the audio
11:30-12:30 pm: “The State is a Man: Theresa Spencer, Lorraine Saunders and the Gendered Cost of Settler Sovereignty in Canada”
Audra Simpson, Columbia University Listen to the audio
2-3 pm: “Genocide in the Americas: Complexities, Contradictions, and Contested Narratives”
Alex Alvarez, Northern Arizona University Listen to the audio
3:15-4:15 pm: “Historical Trauma as the Legacy of Genocide in American Indian Communities: Complications and Critiques”
Joseph P.Gone, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Listen to the audio
4:30-5:30 pm: “So-ver(y)-e(mp)ty in the Space of Abjection: U.S. sovereign immunity, Indigenous Truth-seeking and historical clarification the Shadow of the Wall, Ndé narrative, memorialization, and reparation processes, 2007-2015.”
Margo Tamez, University of British Columbia Listen to the audio
Speaker: Ned Blackhawk (Yale University)
A member of the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, Blackhawk is a Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he coordinates the Yale Group for the Study of Native America. He is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin, which garnered numerous professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the organization of American Historians. In his lecture, he will examine approaches to the study of genocide in native North America. He will chart the increased attention to the indigenous genocide in Canadian history and explore the reasons for the ongoing erasure of the subject in the study of U.S. history.
Keynote Lecture for a Special Symposium of the Strassler Center
With the generous support of Ellen Carno ’79 and Neil Leifer ’76
Speakers: Julian Bonder, Deborah Martin (Geography), And Kristen Wilson (Art History)
The question of how communities address painful legacies through memorial construction is the starting point for a discussion between architect Julian Bonder and Clark Professors Deborah Martin and Kristina Wilson. Bonder’s well-known Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes, France, a port from which hundreds of Atlantic slave-trading expeditions set forth, will serve as the cornerstone. The trio will also look at Bonder’s Holocaust-related work and other memorials to mass atrocity.
Co-Sponsored by the Graduate School of Geography and Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Speakers: Peter Holquist And Ronald Suny
Ronald Suny (University of Michigan) and Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania) discuss genocide in the comparative contexts of the Ottoman and Russian Empires respectively. Recent scholarship, including that of Suny and Holquist, challenges the common understanding of the Armenian Genocide in the context of the Young Turks’ plan to eliminate Christians and homogenize Anatolia as part of the founding of Turkey. Instead, scholars are coming to understand genocides of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (including the Armenian Genocide) as a reorganization of empire based on new demographic policies.
Co-sponsored by the Political Science and History Departments
Speakers: Taner Akçam, Lerna Ekmekçioglu, Donna-Lee Frieze, and Eric Weitz
Closing thoughts by senior scholars about ideas discussed during the Third International Graduate Student Conference- Emerging Scholarship in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 100 Years after the Armenian Genocide
In partnership with the Danish Institute for International Studies
The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University will host the Third International Graduate Students’ Conference on Genocide Studies on 9 – 11 April 2015, in cooperation with the Danish Institute for International Studies, Department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Copenhagen. The conference will provide a forum for doctoral students to present their research projects to peers and established scholars.
Speakers: Eric Weitz, Dean Of Humanities And Arts And Distinguished Professor Of History At The City College Of New York
Dean Weitz opened the conference, Emerging Scholarship in Holocaust and Genocide Studies 100 Years after the Armenian Genocide. Comparative genocide research and education are now rooted in university centers, scholarly associations, and journals. Weitz argued that the field should grow to include the issue of human rights. Genocide is about human destruction, in response, systems of rights to protect human life and culture have emerged and deserve close attention. Weitz’s book, A World Divided: A New Global History from the French Revolution to the Present, is a history of human rights and the segmentation of populations defined by nation or race in the modern era. This lecture commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
In partnership with the Danish Institute for International Studies
Speakers: Simone Schweber, Harold Marcuse And Andrew Port
As part of its series on Public History, the Strassler Center brought together three eminent scholars to examine how historical events, particularly genocide, are interpreted, used, or manipulated toward specific ends. Harold Marcuse, University of California, Santa Barbara; “Teaching the Holocaust to the Millennial Generation: The New Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.” Andrew Port, Wayne State University; “To Intervene or not to Intervene — in Foreign Genocides; The Political Use of the Holocaust in German Intervention Debates in the 1990s.” Simone Schweber, University of Wisconsin; “Mystifying History: Holocaust Narratives in Fundamentalist Schools.”
Social scientists, natural scientists, political theorists, and historians will discuss different forms of denial and why they persist in the face of facts. Participants will consider how scholarship has become the battleground in this struggle — which resonates far beyond academe. Presentations will focus on genocide denial, scientific denial, and political denial.
The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University held the first Israel Academic Exchange workshop April 3 – 6, 2014. The aim of the Exchange was to forge ties and build community among advanced doctoral students and postdocs who study the Holocaust and other cases of mass violence. Doing so, we hope to strengthen the field in Israel, as well as to enrich scholarly discourse at the Strassler Center. Our inaugural workshop was held in partnership with the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research, Haifa University.
The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies hosted an international symposium, Policy and Practice: Pedagogy about the Holocaust and Genocide. The conference opened with a keynote panel History, Politics, and Education: Teaching about the Holocaust and Genocide. Panelists addressed key questions: Is Holocaust teaching in the United States and Europe morally driven, possibly at the expense of historical content? What are the politics of education about genocide in a post-conflict society like Cambodia? And what is the impact of curriculum silence in a denialist society such as Turkey? The symposium continued with a series of closed workshop panels on: Formal and Non-Formal Education; Content Orientation vs Civic Education; Challenges and Best Practice; Politics and Policy; and Looking Ahead. Educators, leading academics, museum curators, and doctoral students from around the world will participate.
The first conference in 2009 was a landmark event co-sponsored with the Center’s partner institution, the Danish Institute for International Studies. Collectively envisioned by the Center’s doctoral students, the conference provided a forum for these younger scholars to present original research to their peers and invited eminent figures in the field. By sponsoring such an international conference tri-annually, the students assume a leadership role in growing a robust international community of genocide scholars.
In another first, the Strassler Center collaborated with groups of undergraduate students to organize this international summit. The event featured a list of experts and organizations.