Conferences at the Strassler Center
The Strassler Center advances knowledge by organizing and hosting cutting-edge academic conferences. These symposia foster important scholarship while honoring the Center’s mandate for community outreach: Leading scholars open with a public keynote address in which they present crucial insights about issues of concern to an educated society.
Past conferences include:
- Holocaust and Genocide in the 20th Century
- Democracy, Economy, and the Middle Class
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, 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
12-13 April 2019 | Dana Commons
Higgins Lounge, Clark University
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.
Sponsored by an anonymous family foundation
Thursday, October 25 – Friday, October 26, 2018
Dana Commons, Higgins Lounge
25 October 2018 | 7:00 p.m | Higgins Lounge
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.
Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor in Armenian Genocide Studies, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies.
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.
19-20 October 2017
Under the impression of the ongoing conflict in Syria and its devastating toll on children, this conference 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; the Jewish children during the Holocaust who the Nazis deemed dangerous due to their role in continuing the “Jewish race.” Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder of the Karam Foundation will be the keynote speaker.
6-9 April 2017
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.
15-16 April 2016
The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University hosted a conference on the investigation and processes that resulted in the near annihilation of Native Americans and the range of responses by Native Americans to that multi-faceted assault. Questions about intent to commit genocide, how victims were chosen and targeted, what constitutes a victim group, expropriation of land and property, processes of destruction, the psychology and behavior of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, and efforts to memorialize and promote justice resonate with the Center’s research and teaching about a range of cases. The consequences that resulted from sustained contact between European settlers and America’s native populations include a litany of massacres, wholesale displacement, and cultural obliteration. Dedicated to critical research about a range of genocide cases, the Strassler Center now seeks to address these issues.
9 – 12 April 2015
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.
24 – 25 October 2014
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.
3 – 6 April 2014
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.
11 – 13 April 2013
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.
29 March – 1 April 2012
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.
24 – 25 September, 2011
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.
This conference was organized under the guidance of Kaloosdian Mugar Professor, Taner Akçam. The Strassler Center planned a fall 2011 conference, Beyond the Armenian Genocide: The Question of Restitution and Reparation in Comparative Review.