An important component of the Strassler Center’s mission is education and outreach to the general public and the scholarly community. On this page you will find links to past events and academic conferences. We also invite you to learn more about our conferences and to visit our speaker archives, where you can listen to audio recordings.
For information on upcoming events and conferences, please contact the Center’s program manager Robyn Conroy.
Upcoming Events & Conferences
13 February 2019 | 4:00 p.m. | Rose Library
Cohen-Lasry House, Clark University
The Era of the Witness, the Era of Translation
Speaker: Hannah Pollin-Galay (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literature and advisor for the Yiddish MA Program at 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.
Sponsored by the William P. Goldman and Brothers Foundation
27 March 2019 | 4:30 p.m. | Rose Library
Cohen-Lasry House, Clark University
Vanishing Vienna: Modern Art and Representations of Jewish Absence in Post-Nazi Central Europe
Speaker: Frances Tanzer (Visiting Assistant Professor at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies)
Introduction: Omer Bartov (John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Department of History, Brown University)
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.
Sponsored by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
11 April 2019 | Conference Keynote | 7:00 p.m.
Dana Commons | Higgins Lounge, Clark University
Speaker: Ian Buruma (Paul Williams Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, and Journalism at 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.
Sponsored by the Asher Fund and the Cutler Charitable Foundation
12-14 April 2019 | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Dana Commons
Higgins Lounge, Clark University
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.
Sponsored by an Anonymous Family Foundation